Handling Diarrhea in Children: A Comprehensive Guide

Handling Diarrhea in Children: A Comprehensive Guide

Handling Diarrhea in Children: A Comprehensive Guide by Dr. Anuradha Bansal, Child Specialist from Jalandhar


Hello, dear parents and caregivers! As a child specialist based in Jalandhar, I understand how concerning it can be when your little ones fall sick, especially with diarrhea. Diarrhea is a common childhood ailment, and while it can be distressing, the good news is that it is usually manageable with proper care and attention. In this blog, I will provide you with valuable insights on what to do if your child has diarrhea and suggest appropriate foods to help them recover faster and regain their energy.

Understanding Diarrhea in Children

Diarrhea in children is characterized by frequent, loose, and watery stools. It can be caused by various factors such as viral or bacterial infections, food intolerances, or other illnesses. Dehydration is a significant concern with diarrhea, so it's essential to monitor your child's fluid intake closely.

What to Do If Your Child Has Diarrhea

Keep Your Child Hydrated: The first and most crucial step is to keep your child hydrated. Offer them plenty of fluids like water, oral rehydration solutions (ORS), coconut water and lemon water. 
Avoid giving sugary or caffeinated beverages, as they can worsen dehydration.

Breastfeeding : If your child is an infant, continue breastfeeding. For babies less than 6months, frequent breastfeeding helps to maintain hydration. 

Watch for Signs of Dehydration: Keep a close eye on your child for signs of dehydration, such as dry mouth, decreased urine output, sunken eyes, irritability, and lethargy. If you notice any of these symptoms, seek medical attention promptly.

Maintain Proper Hygiene:
Frequent handwashing is essential to prevent the spread of infections. Make sure your child washes their hands with soap and water before eating and after using the restroom.

Avoid Spicy and Oily Foods:
Once your child shows signs of improvement, gradually reintroduce bland, easy-to-digest foods. Avoid spicy, oily, and greasy foods that can irritate the stomach.

Foods to Be Given During Diarrhea

Bananas: Rich in potassium, bananas can help replenish lost electrolytes and firm up stools. They are gentle on the stomach and easy to digest.

Rice: Plain white rice or rice-based cereals are excellent choices during diarrhea. They provide carbohydrates and are gentle on the digestive system. Khichdi is the perfect comfort food for kids with diarrhoea.

Boiled Potatoes: Potatoes are low in fiber and can be beneficial during diarrhea. Ensure they are boiled and not fried.

Boiled Carrots: Carrots, when boiled and mashed, are easy on the stomach and a good source of nutrients.

Yoghurt/ buttermilk: Probiotic-rich yogurt can aid in restoring the balance of healthy bacteria in the gut. Choose plain yogurt without added sugars.

Homemade Vegetable Soups: Light vegetable soups made from carrots, pumpkin, and potatoes can provide essential nutrients and hydration.

Foods to Avoid During Diarrhea

Dairy Products:
Avoid giving too much of  milk, cheese, and other dairy products during diarrhea as they can worsen the condition. However, milk can be added to baby's khichdi or Dalia if needed.

Fried and Spicy Foods: Stay away from fried, spicy, and heavily seasoned foods, as they can irritate the digestive system.

Sugary Beverages: Steer clear of sugary drinks, glucon D, sodas, and juices high in sugar content, as they can worsen diarrhea and dehydration.

Tetra pack ORS juices are also loaded with sugars and should be avoided. Use simple ORS powder which is easily available at your nearby pharmacy .

Caffeinated Drinks: Keep your child away from caffeinated beverages like tea and coffee, as they can lead to further fluid loss.
When to consult a doctor immediately
If your baby shoes following symptoms, you should visit your doctor immediately.

1. If the baby peeing less than usual
2. Child is listless, too sleepy, lethargic or irritable
3. You notice blood or mucus in stool
4. If your little one is not eating or feeding much
5. Diarrhoea persisting

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