Children will no doubt suffer from diarrhoea at least once in their lives. Infections are the cause of most common types of diarrhoea and it is usually more uncomfortable and upsetting than dangerous. Most of the time, diarrhoea isn't anything serious and clears up within a few days. Even so, it's important to know how to treat diarrhoea to relieve symptoms until the infection clears.
- Skill level:
Give your child an unlimited amount of fluids. The most important thing to do when your child has diarrhoea is to replace lost fluids and electrolytes. Be sure to give your child water or diluted Gatorade (mix half and half with water). Avoid giving your child fruit juices and carbonated beverages, sugary drinks tend to make symptoms worse.
Give your toddler solid food, if it is tolerated well. Starchy foods are a good choice because the body absorbs them easily. Try potatoes, oatmeal, breads, noodles, crackers and dried cereals to see what your child can handle. Crackers and pretzels help the body meet compromised sodium needs, according to Seattle Children's Hospital. A good way to remember what foods to give your child is the BRAT diet, which stand for bananas, rice, applesauce and toast.
If your child cannot eat solids, give him or her water or diluted Gatorade (mix half and half with water).
Give your child probiotics. Probiotics contain healthy bacteria that can replace the unhealthy bacteria that are growing in your child's digestive tract, according to Seattle Children's Hospital. Probiotics include Lactobacillus GG, bifidobacteria or acidophilus and are available in powder or capsules over the counter in most drugstores.
Tips and warnings
- Don't give your child over-the-counter medications to treat diarrhoea, as they are dangerous, according to Kid's Health.
- Contact your paediatrician if there is blood in your child's stools, if he or she does not stop vomiting, refuses to drink water, has not urinated in several hours, has dry skin that is cool to the touch, or has a fever over 38.9 degrees C.
- Avoid caffeine, foods that are greasy and high in fibre.
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