Coping with Diarrhea in Young Children
When you have children, poop is a part of the equation. You become more familiar with someone else’s inner workings and eliminations than you ever wanted to be, because you have to. You get used to it as well. Still, an outbreak of diarrhea in a child under five is a dreadful experience for many reasons.
To begin with, diarrhea is much more serious in toddlers than it is in adults. Their small size means that they can easily become dangerously dehydrated. In addition, a toddler with diarrhea is messy, uncomfortable, unpleasant, and unhappy. Taken altogether with your natural fear and concerns, coping with diarrhea is young children can be simply overwhelming.
The best thing that you can do for your child is approach this situation calmly and patiently. He or she is already scared and upset and you don’t need to add to their emotional burden. You should know your child’s habits, which will tell you clearly whether you are dealing with diarrhea or whether your child simply poops frequently.
Diarrhea means a loose, wet stool five to ten times in a day. Once you have identified that this is the problem, you need to look for signs of a more serious illness. If your child exhibits additional symptoms such as:
• Abdominal Pain
• Blood in the Stool
• Greasy Stools
• Difficulty Breathing
You will want to take him or her to a medical professional. These are signs of more serious issues that may require medical treatment to resolve. If your child is relatively comfortable and happy despite his or her diarrhea, then the problem may be something simple in their diet.
Treating Your Child’s Diarrhea
Hydration is the first concern that you should have when it comes to treating diarrhea in a toddler. In the U.S. a case of diarrhea does not usually indicate a serious illness, but any child with diarrhea can be truly damaged by the dehydration that comes with it. You need to make sure that your child receives the right kind of fluids while they are sick.
Water, breastmilk, milk, and formula are all reasonable choices for a toddler with diarrhea. Make sure that they drink regularly. If this is not possible, either the child cannot keep the liquid down or their watery stool occurs with a frequency of every two hours or more, then try a pediatric electrolyte solution. You can pick this up over the counter at your local drugstore.
Do not give your child sweet drinks of any kind including Gatorade, fruit juice, or soda. The sugars will exacerbate the problem. Do not attempt to treat their diarrhea with adult medications either. These can be dangerous for toddlers. Instead try to keep your child clean and comfortable and hydrated. If the problem persists more than twenty four hours, then call your doctor.
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