Infant Diarrhea

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Question

My 6-month-old baby has had diarrhea all morning. I can't get an appointment with my pediatrician until much later this afternoon. What can I do in the meantime?

Answer

The primary concern for an infant with diarrhea is dehydration. Diarrhea will cause your baby to lose fluids and electrolytes. It therefore is important to rehydrate your baby with an oral rehydration product to prevent dehydration.

Be alert to these signs of dehydration:

  • Dry or sticky mouth

  • Few or no tears when crying

  • Eyes look sunken into the head

  • Soft spot (fontanelle) on top of the head looks sunken

  • Fewer than six wet diapers per day, going six to eight hours without urinating, or urinating very little

  • Dry, cool skin that lacks elasticity

  • Lethargy

  • Dark-colored urine

Oral rehydration solutions and electrolyte products are available over the counter. Some contain a special mix of electrolytes and fluids; some are in the form of freezer pops; some are in the form of strips that require drinking water to supply the fluid. You may wish to keep these products on hand so they are ready to use as the need arises.

As with any medication you give your child, read the instructions fully, and follow the directions to the letter when administering the remedy (how much, how often, etc.). Until the pediatrician can examine your baby, call the doctor's office and have him or her give you further recommendations on what liquids/food you can give your baby in the meantime.

Learn more about babies and diarrhea in the Health Encyclopedia.

View electrolyte products available from Walgreens.com.


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