Call 911 if the person or child:
- Is very dehydrated
- Has severe abdominal pain
1. Take Fluids
- Ask your doctor what fluids are best for you or your child. Here are some basic tips:
- Give an adult plenty of clear fluid, like fruit juices, soda, sports drinks and clear broth. Avoid milk or milk-based products, alcohol, apple juice, and caffeine while you have diarrhea and for 3 to 5 days after you get better. They may make diarrhea worse.
- Give a child or infant frequent sips of a rehydration solution such as Pedialyte, CeraLyte, or Infalyte. Do not add salt tablets to a baby’s bottle.
- Make sure the person drinks more fluids than they are losing through diarrhea. If they are unable to keep up with their losses, call a doctor.
- Have the person rest as needed and avoid strenuous exercise. Keep a sick child home from school or day care.
3. Ease Into Eating
- Feed an infant or child easily digested foods; the BRAT diet (bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast) is a good choice as soon as they can tolerate food.
- For an adult, add semisolid and low-fiber foods gradually as diarrhea stops. Avoid spicy, greasy, or fatty foods.
3. When to Call a Doctor
Call a doctor right away if:
- You suspect that you or your child is dehydrated.
- An infant 3 months old or younger has vomiting or diarrhea.
- There is blood or mucus in the stool, or the stool is black.
- You think the person needs over-the-counter diarrhea medication; some kinds of diarrhea can get worse with anti-diarrheal medications.
- You think the person has traveler’s diarrhea or drank contaminated water.
- The person is taking an antibiotic that may be causing the diarrhea.
- There is stomach pain that is not relieved by having a bowel movement.
- There is any fever.
- The person is losing more fluid in his stool than he can replace by drinking fluids.
Also seek medical attention if:
- You or your child has any other medical problems and has diarrhea.
- Diarrhea in an adult worsens or doesn’t clear up after 2 or 3 days
- A child doesn’t feel better after 24 hours