Acute diarrhea can usually be treated at home.
Diarrhea is a very common occurrence in children. There are many causes of diarrhea, including a change in diet, too much fruit juice or fiber, teething, a side effect of an antibiotic or a viral infection. While a chronic case of diarrhea may need to be treated by a physician, most acute cases can be treated at home.
Diarrhea is the body’s natural method for releasing bacteria and toxins. For this reason it is best to let it run its course. In fact, giving your child medication to stop diarrhea may actually interfere with her body’s natural healing process. There are things you can do, however, to help your child feel better and aid her body in healing, without interfering with the immune system’s important job. The most important way to start is to be sure your child is constantly drinking clear fluids that are free of caffeine.
Yogurt is a natural way to fight viral diarrhea.
Give your child yogurt to eat if you think her diarrhea may be caused by a viral infection. Yogurt contains lactobacillus acidophilus, which is a good bacteria that naturally fights bad bacteria. Lactobacillus acidophilus is also available in supplement form; you can find children’s chewable acidophilus tablets, acidophilus strawberry liquid and children’s acidophilus powder at your pharmacy or health-food store.
Bananas can help to naturally firm your child’s stool.
Modify your child’s diet to speed the natural recovery process. If you have a baby, give him baby foods like carrots, rice cereal, bananas, potatoes, yogurt and applesauce. Avoid giving him fruit juices, peas, pears, peaches, plums, prunes or apricots. If your child is older, give her foods like cheese, crackers, bread, rice and potatoes. Avoid giving her fruits or dairy products, with the exception of yogurt.
Natural remedies are another option for helping your child recover from diarrhea. Try giving her one tablespoon of apple-cider vinegar every hour until her stool is no longer loose. Vinegar not only helps to ease the diarrhea, but also replenishes potassium and magnesium. Bananas, blueberries and bilberries are also natural remedies for diarrhea. To help soothe irritated intestines, add one tablespoon of carob powder to applesauce or yogurt. Drinking blackberry or ginger tea can also bring some relief. Finally, apply a heating pad to your child‘s abdomen if he complains of cramps.
If natural remedies do not work, you may eventually want to try an over-the-counter medication. Pepto Bismol and Kaopectate help to stop diarrhea, control cramping and alleviate pain and abdominal contractions. These two medications contain aspirin, however, which can cause Reye’s Syndrome if given to a child who has the flu or chicken pox. For this reason, do not give either medication to a child under 16 years of age. Follow dosage on the label.
Diarrhea can quickly lead to dehydration, especially in children. This can be dangerous or even fatal. Give your child an electrolyte drink to aid in the prevention of dehydration. Contact your physician if any of the warning signs exist: no urination (no wet diapers), crying without tears, skin loses elasticity, dry mouth, sunken fontanelle, lethargy or listlessness. You should also contact your physician if your child’s diarrhea lasts more than one week, if there is severe abdominal pain or vomiting, or you see blood in the stool.