Also: Loose or Frequent Stools

Diarrhea, defined as loose or frequent stools, is common in infants and young children.  Most diarrhea in children is caused by viruses, often in association with vomiting and fever.  Bacteria, parasites, and food intolerance can cause diarrhea as well.

When diarrhea occurs with vomiting, it will be necessary to limit your child’s diet (as outlined above).  When diarrhea occurs without vomiting, a nearly regular diet may be continued.  Fruit juices along with other high sugar, high fiber foods should be avoided.  Prolonged or severe diarrheal episodes can result in temporary milk intolerance. If milk intake appears to worsen your child’s diarrhea, you may use a soy or lactose free milk substitute.

Diarrheal illnesses are often associated with poor appetite; this will improve over time.  Encourage your child to drink as much as possible.  As with vomiting, observe for signs of dehydration like dry mouth, failure to make tears, or lack of urine for eight hours.

Bloody stools, mucousy stools, severe abdominal pain or failure to improve in two weeks should all prompt a call to our office for further evaluation.