A child has diarrhea when they pass three or more watery stools a day, which can often be a cause of alarm and concern. However, it is possible to take effective action against diarrhea with the proper knowledge of symptoms and information about treatment. Treating diarrhea consistently, as well as seeking the aid of healthcare professionals, can reduce the chance of diarrhea developing into a serious ailment or illness. Here are some things you can do in order to make this whole process a lot easier for your child.
Checking for Symptoms
There are many causes for diarrhea in children, but the main cause is often a viral infection, such as rotavirus. Viral infections are often accompanied by many other symptoms including headache, stomachache, vomiting, and fever.
- Diarrhea, especially caused by viral infection, often lasts between five and fourteen days.
- Check your child’s temperature with a medical thermometer to see if they have a raised body temperature, which is often another sign of viral infection.
Check the frequency of bowel movements
Many treatments and indicators of severity are tied to how frequently your child has a bowel movement. Once you begin treating your child’s diarrhea, bowel movements should become less frequent and stool should become less watery.
The BRAT treatment is meant for those who are having watery bowel movements every four hours. However, this dietary treatment is not ideal for young children.
Look for signs of Dehydration
Although not always a high risk in children with mild diarrhea, many children risk becoming dehydrated while having severe diarrhea due to the amount of fluids lost. Identifying the signs of dehydration as soon as they begin to emerge will help you seek the best possible treatment as early as possible.
- Look for signs of dizziness, a dry or sticky mouth, dark yellow or little to no urine, and few to no tears when crying.
- Severe dehydration can cause serious health problems, like seizures and brain damage. Seek immediate medical care if you notice signs of severe dehydration in your child. These may include lethargy; dry, cool, pale or mottled skin; fainting or confusion; and rapid heart rate or rapid breathing.
Check the side effects of your child's Medication
If your child regularly takes medication, or has been taking medication recently due to another illness or ailment, check the medications side-effects and see if they include diarrhea. If so, consult your child's doctor for the best course of action.
Feed your child small, frequent, bland meals
Feeding your child small and bland meals frequently will help them avoid any irritation from overeating as well as help soothe their stomachs. Feed your child about six small meals a day as opposed to three larger meals to keep a nutrient rich intake consistent.
- Try nutrient rich foods like bananas, sliced apples, pasta, white rice, or cooked vegetables.
- Avoid foods high in fat. Foods like cheese, cream, and even full-fat yogurt can cause bloating and increase pain and discomfort while a child has diarrhea.
There are lots of things you can do in order to make your child feel better when coping with diarrhea. Follow these steps and make your child’s life during these times a little easier.