Diarrhea in Children
Children can have acute and chronic forms of diarrhea. Causes include bacteria, viruses, parasites, medications, functional bowel disorders, and food sensitivities. Infection with the rotavirus is the most common cause of acute childhood diarrhea. Rotavirus diarrhea usually resolves in 3 to 9 days. Children who are 6 to 32 weeks old can be vaccinated against the virus with a vaccine called Rotateq.
If your child has diarrhea, do not hesitate to call the doctor for advice. Diarrhea is especially dangerous in newborns and infants, leading to dehydration in just a day or two. A child can die from dehydration within a few days. The main treatment for diarrhea in children is rehydration to replace lost fluid quickly.
Take your child to the doctor if there is no improvement after 24 hours or if any of the following symptoms appear:
- stools containing blood or pus
- black stools
- a temperature above 102 degrees
- signs of dehydration
Medications to treat diarrhea in adults can be dangerous for children and should only be given with a doctor’s guidance.