The staff of Panda Pediatrics, located in Washington, D.C.
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Diarrhea consists in frequent, loose bowel movements. The best indicator of the severity of the diarrhea is its frequency. The main complication of diarrhea is dehydration from excessive loss of body fluids. Symptoms of dehydration include a dry mouth, the absence of tears, a reduction in urine production (i.e., none in 12 hours), and a darker, concentrated urine. It is the dehydration you need to worry about, not the presence of diarrhea.
Diarrhea is usually caused by a viral infection of the intestines. Occasionally, it is caused by bacteria or parasites. It also can be due to drinking too much fruit juice or to a food allergy. Diarrhea usually lasts from several days to a week, regardless of the treatment. The main goal of therapy is to prevent dehydration. Don’t expect a quick return to solid stools. Since one loose stool can mean nothing, don’t start dietary changes until there have been at least two. Infectious diarrhea is very contagious. Good hand washing is essential for preventing everyone in the family from getting diarrhea.
For a child of any age with mild diarrhea (a few loose or mushy stools), continue a regular diet
with a few simple changes:
For bottle-fed infants with frequent, watery diarrhea:
For breast-fed infants with frequent, watery diarrhea:
For children over 1 year of age with frequent, watery diarrhea:
Call our office during regular hours if your child has: