Diarrhea in Kids: Causes, Remedies and Over-the-Counter Meds

Diarrhea in Kids

You’re out shopping with your kid and suddenly he says in a very loud voice “Mommy, I need to poo!”  You know everyone in the store just heard you! Sure, it could be funny and awkward, but if your kid takes frequent bathroom trips and complains of a tummy ache, he may have diarrhea. Fortunately, there are enough medications especially for diarrhea in kids.

What is diarrhea in kids and what causes it?

When you have diarrhea, your bowel movements are very frequent, with loose, watery stools. Depending on the cause, it can range from a mild condition to a serious condition. It can also lead to serious complications, like dehydration, if not given prompt attention.

Diarrhea in kids can last for a few days to a week. Watch out for symptoms like stomach cramps, a bloated belly, loose or watery stools, nausea, throwing up, an urgent need to have a bowel movement, and sometimes, fever.

Kids more often get diarrhea than adults do. They play, explore and touch anything they get curious about. Our young explorers could get viruses and bacteria from the environment such as rotavirus and salmonella. Rotavirus infections can be found in settings like day care centers or play centers. If one kid has it, the virus can spread through contact with the stool from an infected kid. Salmonella bacteria, on the other hand, can spread through intake of contaminated food like meat, eggs, or other dairy products.

The best way to prevent diarrhea in kids is to teach them to always wash their hands or sanitize. This is especially after trips to the bathroom, playing with other kids, exploring outside and before handling food. Other possible causes of diarrhea among children are food poisoning, irritable bowel disease, Crohn’s disease, food allergies and celiac disease.

Remedies and Over-the-Counter Meds for diarrhea in kids

A kid who has diarrhea can lose quite a lot of water and electrolytes (salts). Because dehydration is the most serious complications, it’s important to replace the lost fluids immediately. Water alone doesn’t contain any electrolytes. The best remedy is to give your child an oral rehydration solution (ORS). These solutions contain just the right amount of electrolytes needed. You can find these products with names usually ending in “-lyte”.

For babies and children below 2 years old, you should increase giving breast milk if you are breastfeeding. You can also give popsicles or ice cubes to kids who are vomiting or feeling nauseated. These will also help them rehydrate slowly.

You may also opt to give medications like bismuth subsalicylate and loperamide. These medications may be available in liquid form for easy swallowing. If your child can swallow a capsule, you can give her the capsule form as well.

You can also give your child foods that help to restore electrolytes in the body. Cereal with milk, pasta and bread are easy to digest and can help in recovery. Foods like bananas, applesauce, and mashed potatoes can also help restore needed electrolytes. Salty crackers can help reestablish the salt lost.

If diarrhea gets worse, it’s best to pay your child’s doctor a visit. He may prescribe antibiotics depending on the cause of the diarrhea of your child.

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