Diarrhea in Children
For newborns, loose, frequent stools for the breast-fed baby that are watery and yellow are normal. If you are breast-feeding, regardless of the age of your child, continue to breast-feed. Also, the more the better if your child has diarrhea.
When there is blood or mucous in the stool, have your child seen. The key for dehydration treatment is oral rehydration solutions. The WHO (World Health Organization) has rehydration packets that are designed for the severe diarrhea situation.
In most cases of diarrhea in children, the cause is viral. Typically, rotavirus is the leading cause. There may be a lot of vomiting for the first few days and the diarrhea can last for over a week.
If your child is very lethargic, has lost close to 10% of their body weight or more, or is severely irritable or not responding well, they need to be seen.
In children, do not use medications that stop diarrhea. We want any toxins or infectious agents to pass right through rather than trap them in the GI track.
If you do not have access to WHO rehydration solution, a banana and water will do. Sports drinks are another alternative if the illness is not severe. There is also a natural solution you can consider for older children called Ultima, which is adequate in mild cases, but would not have enough electrolytes for the severe case.
Most cases can be managed at home if you can get your child to keep fluids down.
In the case where there is severe vomiting as well as diarrhea, you will need to consider seeking medical attention. There are great medications to stop vomiting if needed.