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    Diarrhea Treatment

    Call 911 if the person or child: 

    • Is very dehydrated
    • Has severe abdominal pain

    Treating Dehydration

    1. Take Fluids

    • Ask your doctor what fluids are best for you or your child. Here are some basic tips:
      1. 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.
      2. 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.
      3. 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.

    2. Rest

    • 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.

    Follow-Up

    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

    WebMD Medical Reference

    Reviewed by Melinda Ratini, DO, MS on September 08, 2015

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