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TitleDK-Home Emergency Guide
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Page 1

HOME
EMERGENCY

GUIDE

Page 130

130

Diarrhea (children)
For adults and children over 12, see p.128

Diarrhea is the abnormally frequent passage of loose
or watery feces. Breast-fed babies may pass loose
feces several times a day, and this is normal. If your
child has diarrhea, he or she should drink plenty of
clear fluids to avoid dehydration. If symptoms do
not improve, consult your doctor.

!Danger signs
Dial 911 or call EMS if your
child also has any of
the following symptoms:

•Abnormal drowsiness.
•Severe abdominal pain or

abdominal pain that lasts
for 4 hours or more.

•No urination during the day
for 3 hours (if under 1 year)
or 6 hours (in an older
child).

•Refusal to drink or feed
(in babies) for over 6 hours.

•Blood in the feces.

FAMILY ILLNESS

Less than
3 days

3 days or more

How long has
your child had

diarrhea?
START

Does your
child have any

of the
following?

Abdominal pain

Temperature of
100.4°F (38°C)

or above

Vomiting

None of
the above

ACTION

CALL YOUR DOCTOR NOW
if your child is under 6
months. He or she may
have gastroenteritis.
CONSULT YOUR DOCTOR
if your child is over 6
months and not better
within 24 hours or if
any other symptoms
develop.

• Follow the advice
for preventing
dehydration (p.165).

ACTION

MAKE AN APPOINTMENT
TO SEE YOUR DOCTOR
Persistent constipation
can lead to feces
trickling from the anus,
which may be mistaken
for diarrhea.

Was your child
constipated

before the onset
of diarrhea?

Constipated

Not constipated

Is your
child gaining
weight and

growing at a
normal rate
(see growth

charts, p.71)?

Yes

No

Medication

No medication

Is your child
currently taking
any medication?

Uniformly
runny

Contains pieces
of food

What is the
appearance of

the feces?

Page 131

DIARRHEA (CHILDREN) 131

ACTION

SEE YOUR DOCTOR
WITHIN 24 HOURS
Your child’s symptoms
may be a side effect of
the drug.

• Stop giving any over-
the-counter medicines
but continue to give
prescribed medication
unless advised to stop
by your doctor.

ACTION

TRY SELF-HELP MEASURES
Young children often
fail to chew and digest
food properly, which
can lead to so-called
“toddler’s diarrhea.”

•Follow the advice
for preventing
dehydration (p.165).
CONSULT YOUR DOCTOR
if symptoms persist or
if your child develops
other symptoms.

ACTION

TRY SELF-HELP MEASURES
Psychological stress or
unusual excitement
can cause diarrhea in
children. The symptoms
will normally stop as
soon as the cause has
disappeared.
CONSULT YOUR DOCTOR
if there is a long-term
cause of anxiety in
your child’s life or if
he or she develops
other symptoms.

ACTION

TRY SELF-HELP MEASURES
Foods that are new to
your baby may cause
digestive upsets.

•Withhold the food
that seems to be
causing the trouble
for at least 1 week.
CONSULT YOUR DOCTOR
if your baby is no
better in 24 hours or
if he or she develops
other symptoms.

ACTION

MAKE AN APPOINTMENT
TO SEE YOUR DOCTOR
It is possible that your
child has a condition
affecting the digestive
tract, such as food
intolerance or celiac
disease (gluten allergy).

ACTION

SEE YOUR DOCTOR
WITHIN 24 HOURS
if you cannot identify
a possible cause for
your child’s diarrhea
from this chart.

ACTION

SEE YOUR DOCTOR
WITHIN 24 HOURS
if you cannot identify
a possible cause for
your child’s diarrhea
from this chart.

ACTION

TRY SELF-HELP MEASURES
Sugar in food and
drink can cause
diarrhea in babies.

•Avoid giving your
baby sweetened foods
and drinks.
CONSULT YOUR DOCTOR
if your baby is no
better in 24 hours or
if he or she develops
other symptoms.

Under
12 months

Over 3 years

12 months
to 3 years

How old is
your child?

Is your child
experiencing

unusual stress,
anxiety, or

excitement?

Stress or
anxiety

Excitement

Neither

Was your baby
given any of
the following

before the onset
of diarrhea?

Unfamiliar
foods

Sugary foods
or sweetened

drinks

Neither

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