Most 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.
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.
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
|Centers 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.|
|North American Society for Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition (NASPGHAN) NASPGHAN works to help children and adolescents with digestive disorders.|
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|Campylobacter Infections These bacterial infections can cause diarrhea, cramping, abdominal pain, and fever. Good hand-washing and food safety habits can prevent them.|
|Food Poisoning The germs that get into food and cause food poisoning are tiny, but can have a powerful effect on the body. Find out what to do if you get food poisoning - and how to prevent it.|
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|Gastrointestinal Infections and Diarrhea Nearly everybody gets diarrhea every once in a while, and it's usually caused by gastrointestinal infections. It's nothing to be embarrassed about. Read this article to learn more.|
|E. Coli Undercooked burgers and unwashed produce are among the foods that can harbor E. coli bacteria and lead to infection and severe diarrhea. Here's how to protect yourself.|
|A to Z: Gastroenteritis Gastroenteritis is an infection that causes vomiting and diarrhea.|
|Dehydration Your body is about two thirds water. When the water level dips below that level, you could be dehydrated. Read about what causes dehydration, what it does to your body, and how to prevent it.|
|Belly Pain Ugh. Bellyaches. Find out what causes tummy trouble in this article for kids.|
|Word! Diarrhea If you've ever had a bad time in the bathroom, then you know what this is.|
|Helicobacter pylori H. pylori bacteria can cause digestive illnesses, including gastritis and peptic ulcer disease.|
|Pyloric Stenosis Pyloric stenosis is a condition that can cause your baby to vomit forcefully and often and may cause other problems such as dehydration and salt and fluid imbalances.|
|Vomiting Most vomiting is caused by gastroenteritis, and usually isn't serious. These home-care tips can help prevent dehydration.|
|Diarrhea Most kids battle diarrhea from time to time, so it's important to know what to do to relieve and even prevent it.|
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