Are you having back pain with any of the following?

  • Severe pain, weakness or tingling in your leg(s).
  • Difficulty stopping urination or loss of control of bladder or bowels.
  • Unexplained fever, nausea or vomiting.
  • A history of cancer or unexplained weight loss.

We understand that you are experiencing one or more of the health issues that might be impacting your back pain.

We recommend that you discuss these health issues with your doctor before proceeding with this program.

Once you are cleared by your doctor to do this program, we hope it helps you find relief from your back pain.

Overview

When stools are looser and more frequent than normal, we call it diarrhea. Children with diarrhea can become dehydrated quickly. This can be especially dangerous for children under 6 months of age or with health risks. Keep a close eye on your child for signs of dehydration: 

  • Urinating much less than usual.
  • Listlessness, irritability, difficulty waking.
  • No tears, or a dry mouth and tongue.
  • Skin that is doughy or that does not bounce back quickly when pinched.
  • Fast heartbeat. 
  • Rapid breathing.
  • Sunken eyes or (in an infant) a sunken soft spot on the head.

Infant Bowel Habits

A baby’s bowels are much more active than older children. Stools may often appear loose, particularly if you are breastfeeding. Remember:

  • Your baby may have as many as 4 to 10 stools a day or as few as 1 every 3 days.
  • Many breastfed babies will have a bowel movement with each feeding and sometimes between feedings.
  • Nursing babies typically have runny yellow stools.
  • It's normal for there to be some mucus in your baby's stool.

Common Causes

Diet

Too much of a particular food can cause diarrhea. Food allergies, such as lactose intolerance can cause it too. A baby’s digestive tract cannot tolerate large amounts of juice, fruit, or milk. Diarrhea caused by something in your child's diet is not usually serious. It should improve as you limit or stop the problem food.

Infection

Diarrhea is the body's way of clearing out viruses, bacteria, or toxins from the digestive system. Children can become infected from food poisoning or viruses. Common viruses include rotavirus or stomach flu (gastroenteritis). Viral infections cause most cases of diarrhea, and may be accompanied by vomiting and a fever. 

Other Causes

Medical conditions

In rare cases, diarrhea can be a symptom of a more serious condition. Examples include:

  • A problem in the digestive tract. Inflammatory bowel disease is an example.
  • Diseases that interfere with the normal digestion of food. Examples include cystic fibrosis or celiac disease.

Medications

Some medications, especially antibiotics, can cause diarrhea. Plain yogurt may help if your child is taking antibiotics. (Only give cow’s milk yogurt if your child tolerates cow’s milk.)

Prevention

Avoid untreated water. This includes water from lakes or rivers. Even a small amount, used to brush teeth, can contain enough parasites, virus, or bacteria to cause diarrhea. 

Practice and teach your child good hand washing habits: 

  • Wash your hands and your child’s hands frequently with soap and warm water. 
  • Wash your hands after each diaper change or trip to the bathroom.
  • Teach your child to wash his or her hands after using the bathroom and before every meal.
  • Do not place soiled diapers on surfaces that are used to prepare or serve food.

Preventing Food Poisoning

Prevent food poisoning by treating perishable foods with extra care. Examples include eggs, meats, poultry, fish, shellfish, milk, and milk products. Be extra careful when preparing food for young children and older people. The U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends that you:

  • Keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold.
  • Do not eat meat, dressings, salads, or other perishable foods that have been stored outside the refrigerator for more than 2 hours.
  • Check that the temperature of your refrigerator is between 34°F and 40°F.
  • Defrost meats in the refrigerator or microwave, not on the kitchen counter.
  • Keep the kitchen clean. Wash your hands, cutting boards, and counter tops frequently.
  • After handling raw meats, especially chicken, wash your hands and utensils before preparing food. Avoid unpasteurized milk as it can contain bacteria.   
  • Cook hamburger until it is well done. Cook chicken until juices run clear.
  • Do not eat raw eggs or uncooked sauces made with raw eggs.
  • Discard cans or jars with bulging lids or leaks. When in doubt, throw it out.

Home Treatment for Diarrhea in Babies

  • Breastfeed frequently to replace lost fluids. If your baby is formula-fed, offer more bottles throughout the day.
  • If signs of dehydration develop, give a children's oral electrolyte solution such as Pedialyte*, in addition to regular feedings. Use a dropper, spoon, or bottle. Do not give oral electrolyte solution as the only source of fluids for more than 24 hours.
  • Do not give your baby sports drinks, juice, or soda. These drinks contain too much sugar. They also do not contain enough electrolytes to replace those lost through diarrhea. 
  • If your baby is already eating solid foods, offer him or her easily digestible meals. Cereal, strained bananas, or mashed potatoes are good examples.
  • Protect baby's diaper area with a thick layer of diaper rash or zinc oxide cream. 

Home Treatment for Children Ages 1 to 11

Follow these guidelines to care for your child:

  • Give 4 to 8 ounces of a children's oral electrolyte solution, or plain water (if child is eating food) each hour.
  • Encourage your child to drink often to prevent dehydration.
  • Let your child eat. Studies have shown that children who eat easily digestible foods have shorter episodes of diarrhea. Cereal, starchy vegetables, toast, applesauce, and rice are good choices.
  • Avoid foods that are high in sugar or fat or that make diarrhea worse. 
  • Your child can continue to drink cow’s milk. Do not give boiled milk.  
  • Do not give your child medicine to stop diarrhea unless we prescribe it. 
  • Do not use an electrolyte solution as the only source of fluids and nutrients for more than 24 hours.
  • Talk to us before giving probiotics to your child.

Diarrhea can last for 4 to 6 days. As your child gets better, stools will get smaller and less frequent.

Returning to School or Day Care

If your child wears a diaper, he or she may return to day care or school when diarrhea has improved. Older children may resume activity if they do not need extra help managing the diarrhea.

Good Hygiene

When you are caring for a child with diarrhea there are things you can do to prevent other members of your household from getting sick. Follow these guidelines:

Handwashing

  • Wash your hands and your child's hands thoroughly after each bathroom visit or diaper change and before eating. 

Keep Surfaces Clean

To clean diarrhea from hard surfaces, such as a toilet seat or bathroom floor, use diluted chlorine bleach:

  • Wear gloves and wash your hands thoroughly after cleaning.
  • Mix 5 tablespoons of 6 percent household bleach in 1 gallon of water.
  • Leave the solution on the surface area for 10 minutes to be effective.
  • Let the surface air dry if possible.
  • Wear gloves to handle soiled linens and clothing. Wash them in hot water as soon as possible.  

When to Call Us

Call us right away if your child has any of the following symptoms:

  • Bloody, tarry, or dark red diarrhea.
  • Little or no urine for 8 hours, or urine that is bloody or brown. 
  • No tears, or a dry mouth and tongue.
  • Difficulty waking, lethargy, or extreme irritability.
  • Skin that is doughy or that does not bounce back when pinched gently.
  • Fast heartbeat. 
  • Rapid breathing.
  • Refuses to drink or cannot drink enough to replace lost fluids.
  • Sunken eyes or (in an infant) a sunken soft spot on the head.
  • Severe or persistent stomach pain and frequent vomiting for more than 12 hours with little or no diarrhea.
  • Stomach pain starts several hours before the vomiting. Pain seems more severe than cramps.
  • Pain located in the lower right abdomen.

If you have an emergency medical condition, call 911 or go to the nearest hospital. An emergency medical condition is any of the following: (1) a medical condition that manifests itself by acute symptoms of sufficient severity (including severe pain) such that you could reasonably expect the absence of immediate medical attention to result in serious jeopardy to your health or body functions or organs; (2) active labor when there isn't enough time for safe transfer to a Plan hospital (or designated hospital) before delivery, or if transfer poses a threat to your (or your unborn child's) health and safety, or (3) a mental disorder that manifests itself by acute symptoms of sufficient severity such that either you are an immediate danger to yourself or others, or you are not immediately able to provide for, or use, food, shelter, or clothing, due to the mental disorder. This information is not intended to diagnose health problems or to take the place of specific medical advice or care you receive from your physician or other health care professional. If you have persistent health problems, or if you have additional questions, please consult with your doctor. If you have questions or need more information about your medication, please speak to your pharmacist. Kaiser Permanente does not endorse the medications or products mentioned. Any trade names listed are for easy identification only.

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