First Aid: Diarrhea

First Aid: Diarrhea

First AidMost cases of diarrhea (runny or watery bowel movements) are caused by gastrointestinal (GI) infections. Diarrhea usually is not a sign of a serious illness, but it can cause kids to lose fluids, salts, and minerals. If your child has diarrhea, it's important to make sure fluids and nutrients are replaced.

Signs and Symptoms

What to Do

Depending on the amount of fluid loss and the severity of diarrhea, your doctor will probably instruct you to:

Do not offer plain water to infants — it doesn't contain enough sodium and other minerals. Avoid apple juice and other sweet drinks because they may make diarrhea worse.

Seek Medical Care

If Your Child:

Think Prevention!

Make sure kids wash their hands well and often to avoid getting infected with germs that can cause diarrhea. Wash fruits and vegetables thoroughly before eating, and refrigerate meats as soon as possible after buying them and cook them until they're no longer pink.

Reviewed by: Steven Dowshen, MD
Date reviewed: April 2014





Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.

© 1995-2014 The Nemours Foundation/KidsHealth. All rights reserved.





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Related Resources
OrganizationCenters for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) The CDC (the national public health institute of the United States) promotes health and quality of life by preventing and controlling disease, injury, and disability.
OrganizationNorth American Society for Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition (NASPGHAN) NASPGHAN works to help children and adolescents with digestive disorders.
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