Diarrhea, Viral (Child) - Fairview Health Services
 
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Diarrhea (Viral, Child, 2-5 Yr)

Most diarrhea in children is due to viral enteritis, commonly known as the “stomach flu”. This may last from 2-7 days. The main danger from repeated diarrhea is dehydration—the loss of excess water and minerals from the body. When this occurs, body fluids must be replaced with oral rehydration solution such as Pedialyte, Infalyte or Rehydralyte. This is available at drugstores and most grocery stores without a prescription.

Home Care

  1. Give extra fluids. Avoid sweetened juices or sodas. Also give solid foods such as cereal, oatmeal, bread, noodles, carrots, mashed bananas, mashed potatoes, applesauce, dry toast, crackers, pretzels, soups with rice or noodles, and cooked vegetables.

  2. If diarrhea is severe, give oral rehydration solution between feedings.

  3. You may use acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil) to control pain and fever, unless another medicine was prescribed for this. (Aspirin should never be used in anyone under 18 years of age who is ill with a fever. It may cause severe liver damage.)

  4. Do not give over-the-counter antidiarrheal agents, unless advised by your doctor.

  5. If your child is doing well after 24 hours, resume a normal diet.

Note: Some children may be sensitive to the lactose present in milk or formula. Their symptoms may worsen. If that happens, use oral rehydration solution instead of milk or formula during this illness.

Follow Up

with your doctor as advised. Call if not improving within 24 hours or if diarrhea lasts more than one week. If a stool (diarrhea) sample was taken, you may call in 2 days (or as directed) for the results.

Get Prompt Medical Attention if any of the following occur:

  • Increasing abdominal pain or constant lower right abdominal pain

  • Repeated vomiting after the first 2 hours on fluids

  • Occasional vomiting for more than 24 hours

  • Continued severe diarrhea for more than 24 hours

  • Blood in vomit or stool (black or red color)

  • Reduced oral intake

  • No tears when crying; “sunken” eyes or dry mouth; dark urine; no wet diapers for 8 hours in infants, reduced urine output in older children

  • Dark urine or no urine for 8 hours, no tears when crying, “sunken” eyes or dry mouth

  • Child is more fussy, drowsy, or confused than usual, or has a stiff neck or seizure

  • Fever of 100.4°F (38°C) oral or 101.4°F (38.5°C) rectal or higher, not better with fever medication

  • New rash

 

 
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