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General Medical Questions
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Question : What is best treatment for a 9-month-old baby who has pretty watery diarrhea?
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The Trusted Source
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Howard LeWine, M.D.

Henry H. Bernstein, D.O., is a senior lecturer in Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School. In addition, he is chief of General Academic Pediatrics at Children's Hospital at Dartmouth and professor of pediatrics at Dartmouth Medical School. He is the former associate chief of General Pediatrics and director of Primary Care at Children's Hospital Boston.

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November 26, 2013
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Diarrhea is no fun, especially in young infants. Diarrhea means that your baby is having lots of stools that are more loose than normal. A virus usually causes it.

Luckily, diarrhea is usually not serious. You can often treat it at home. A few very soft stools could be mild diarrhea. Many watery stools could be more of a problem. 

The biggest concern with diarrhea is the loss of fluid from the body. Both water and salts (electrolytes) are lost with diarrhea. This can lead to dehydration, including:

  • Dry diapers (peeing less than usual)
  • Dark (concentrated) urine
  • No tears when crying
  • Dry mouth 

Infants with mild diarrhea can continue their usual diet. If your baby is being breastfed, do not stop! Breastfeeding helps correct diarrhea. Special fluids usually are not needed.

Infants with many watery stools may need special fluids to prevent dehydration. Never give just plain water. Instead, give electrolyte solutions to replace the water and salts lost during diarrhea.  

Do not try to make electrolyte solutions at home. Your pediatrician or pharmacist can tell you what products are available.

Make sure to call your baby’s doctor if she has any of these signs or symptoms:

  • Severe diarrhea
  • Any signs of dehydration
  • Blood or mucus in the stool
  • Fever of 102ºF or higher
  • Repeated vomiting
  • Much less activity than normal 

The germs that cause diarrhea can spread easily from person to person. Always wash your hands after changing your baby’s diapers. This will prevent everyone in the family from getting diarrhea.

 

 

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