Diarrhea in Children Questions and Answers

It’s a good idea to inform yourself about diarrhea in children if you’re a parent. The more you know, the better able you’ll be to help your child if they’re sick, and Night Lite Pediatrics would like to help too, so we’ve prepared a bit of a Q&A on diarrhea in children. For more information, call us. We serve patients from Greater Orlando, Jacksonville, Melbourne and Port St Lucie Florida areas.

Diarrhea in Children Questions and Answers
Diarrhea in Children Questions and Answers

What are the symptoms of diarrhea?

The symptoms of diarrhea can vary for each child and vary in severity, but they typically include some of the following:

  • Dehydration, or a loss of fluids in the body
  • Cramping
  • Pain in the belly
  • Bloating, or swelling
  • An upset stomach
  • An urgent need to go to the bathroom
  • Incontinence
  • Bloody stools
  • Fever

Those symptoms might seem like other health matters. Also, severe diarrhea may be a sign of a serious health matter. You should see a healthcare provider for diagnosis. Read on to learn more about the symptoms and signs of dehydration, the most common complication of diarrhea.

What are the complications of diarrhea?

The biggest complication with diarrhea is dehydration which is more likely to occur in young children and those with a weakened immune system. With mild dehydration, there’s some loss of fluid and typically only minor symptoms, so it’s typically not dangerous and can be treated by a doctor like a pediatrician. Look for the common, minor signs of dehydration, like:

  • Dry lips, mouth, and tongue
  • A faster heartbeat than usual
  • There aren’t any tears when your child cries
  • No wet diapers for a young child for three hours or longer
  • Sleepiness
  • Irritability
  • Sunken eyes or cheeks, or a soft spot on the top of your young child’s head

With moderate or severe dehydration, there can be more significant and even life-threatening complications that require emergency care at the ER (emergency room). With severe dehydration, a child may experience seizures, coma, organ problems, or other serious problems. Call 911 for these problems.

When should my child see a doctor for diarrhea?

The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases recommends that children with any of these symptoms or issues should see a doctor for diarrhea:

  • Dehydration
  • A fever of 102 degrees or more
  • Stools that seem tarry or black in color, or stools with blood or pus in them
  • Diarrhea that’s lasted over 24 hours

You should go see an urgent care doctor or urgent care pediatrician. One of these professionals should be able to see your child right away without the need for an appointment, so your child won’t have to wait to see a doctor.

How is diarrhea treated in kids?

With a common, minor case of diarrhea, treatment is usually really simple! Since dehydration should be addressed, your child might need to replace lost fluids. Drinking water can help, but this may not be the case with a baby, and children shouldn’t drink too much water. Babies may need breast milk and special professional attention. If a bacterial infection is the cause of your child’s case of diarrhea, an antibiotic may be prescribed.

You might have more questions about diarrhea in children, or more specific questions for a doctor or pediatrician, so you’re more than welcome to reach out to us at Night Lite Pediatrics. Of course, you’re also welcome to come visit us if your child needs care for a minor case of diarrhea. We hope you found this Q&A helpful and that you learned more about how to help your child!

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