Treating Diarrhoea in Toddlers & Children | Kids Clinic Singapore

Child Diarrhoea

What Causes Diarrhoea in Children?

Diarrhoea refers to the frequent passage of loose watery stools due to either an infection, inflammation or increased movement of the intestines. There are many causes of acute diarrhoea, but the most common cause of diarrhoea in children is acute gastroenteritis, an infection of the intestine. Viruses are usually responsible for this infection. The commonest virus resulting in gastroenteritis is rotavirus. Less commonly, it can be caused by bacterial infections, such as salmonella, camphylobacter or shigella, which may cause blood and mucus to appear in the stools.

Diarrhoea in children is commonly caused by acute gastroenteritis, an infection of the intestine.

What is Acute Gastroenteritis in Children?

 

Acute Gastroenteritis is an infection of the intestine. It may or may not be accompanied by vomiting, fever and abdominal pain. The diarrhoea caused by acute gastroenteritis usually lasts for 2 to 4 days. Occasionally, it may persist up to 10 days.

Is Acute Gastroenteritis in Children Dangerous?

 

The major problem with gastroenteritis is dehydration (body drying out). This occurs when your child loses too much fluid from the diarrhoea and vomiting. Increasing the amount of liquid intake for your child can prevent dehydration.

How do I Tell if My Child is Dehydrated?

 

Features that may suggest dehydration include not passing urine, loss of weight, tiredness/lethargy, dry tongue/eyes/lips, no tears on crying and increasing heart rate.

Does My Child Need any Medication for Diarrhoea?

 

The main treatment is to ensure your child remains well hydrated. Your child’s doctor may give some medication for stomach pain, diarrhoea, vomiting and/or fever, depending on the symptoms. Antibiotics are usually not required and may
worsen the diarrhoea, unless there are signs to suggest a serious bacterial gastroenteritis, especially in a young infant or in those with very persistent fevers/prolonged symptoms.

How do I Prevent Diarrhoea in Toddlers and Children?

 

It is difficult to prevent your toddler or child from coming into contact with germs that cause gastroenteritis. These germs are present in the community all the time. However, good hygiene habits will minimise the risk of spreading the infection. For
newborns and infants, bottle hygiene is very important. Milk bottles need to be sterilised either by boiling or with the use of sterilising tablets. For other children, hand-washing before meals and good toilet habits should be taught. Vaccination  against rotavirus infection for young infants is available and should be encouraged.

Treating and Caring for a Child with Diarrhoea at Home

 

For babies less than 12 months old:
Breast fed babies: Continue breast-feeding and feed more often.
Formula fed babies:

  • Continue feeding your baby with his formula milk.
  • If diarrhoea persists for more than 10 days, you may consider switching to soy formula or lactose-free formula milk.
  • Do not feed your baby water only.
  • If your child is persistently vomiting, bring him to see a doctor.

For toddlers more than 12 months old:

  • Offer more fluids to your child.
  • Ensure that your child continues to take sufficient fluids.
  • If your child is not vomiting, ensure hydration by increasing his fluid intake. You may use oral rehydration solution like Hydralyte. These solutions are best served cool and may even be frozen to ‘ice sticks’. Alternatively, you may use rice water or barley water.
  • When the nature and frequency of the stools improve, you can slowly reintroduce the normal feeds.
  • If your child is vomiting, you can give him a trial of small but frequent clear feeds. For example, you may start with 10 ml of fluid every 10 – 15 minutes for one hour. If he can tolerate this, you can increase the volume by 10 ml each
    subsequent hour.
  • If your child is persistently vomiting, bring him to see a doctor.

Read other health topics related to diarrhoea in babies and young children:

About Kids Clinic

Because we believe that healthy children make happy parents. From newborns to toddlers, our experienced paediatricians are trained to meet a child’s health needs as they grow.

Our Kids Clinic branches are conveniently located in the heartlands for a fast and fuss-free visit.

A Singapore Medical Group Clinic

Incorporated in 2005, Singapore Medical Group (SMG) is a private specialist and primary healthcare provider with a network of more than 20 medical specialties. The Group is committed to its promise of providing patient centred medical care and experience to every individual. SMG has 35 clinics and a growing network of SMG Associates all across the island.

For same-day consults/ appointments, kindly walk in to our clinics directly.


For same-day consults/appointments, kindly walk in to our clinics directly.


For same-day consults/appointments, kindly walk in to our clinics directly.

For same-day consults/appointments, kindly walk in to our clinics directly.


For same-day consults/appointments, kindly walk in to our clinics directly.

For same-day consults/appointments, kindly walk in to our clinics directly.

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