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What's a Normal Duration for Toddler Diarrhea?

My son has been sick since Saturday (it's now Wed.) and it started with vomiting and a fever. Day 2 he just had a fever and now days 3,4, and 5 he's had serious diarrhea and he's real lethargic. He'll play lightly for a few minutes at a time, but he just wants to lay down most of the time. I've called the doctor and he said as long as he's taking in fluids and is responsive there's not too much to do. I'm just wondering if this is normal for a course of the bug or if it's lasting longer than normal. (Note: my son has never been sick for more than 48 hours and it's usually just been a fever with no other symptoms so I'm a little worried.)

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Thank you so much for the responses. My son is feeling much better. I had been in constant contact with his doctor via phone and never took him in since every day he got slightly better. I tried the B.R.A.T diet and that worked like a charm. Also, I didn't know to take him off of milk for a few days so I think that contributed to it lasting a bit longer. I don't give my son much juice normally so it took some convincing to get him to drink pedialyte and water instead of milk. He's still a little fussy and sleepy, but he's up playing for longer periods and having wet diapers and even had a normal b.m. Like many of you mentioned, it looks like it just needed a week or so to run its course. Thanks again for all the responses!

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If you think he is getting dehydrated take him to the dr. When kids are sick they can get dehydrated fast---it's happened to one of my boys. For the diarrhea we follow the BRAT diet (bananas, rice, applesauce, toast) and it works great. You might be able to google it and see what other foods are included in the diet.

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Beware of a new Samonella food poisoning that is taking toddlers in their sleep at night. It starts with a high fever fatigue in the evening and then they are gone by morning. Their parents treat them with tylenol and put them to bed thinking it's a stomach bug. Given conventional wisdom, you did the right thing. After learning what I know I will stay up with them and be ready to head to the ER. I'm just spreading the word.

YES!!! Unfortunately my daughter got something like this a couple of years ago and it got so bad I had to take Family Medical Leave at work. It lasted for over two weeks. It was terrible. She was about the same age. She was potty trained at the time but I had to put her in diapers. AWFUL!!!!

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If you think he is getting dehydrated take him to the dr. When kids are sick they can get dehydrated fast---it's happened to one of my boys. For the diarrhea we follow the BRAT diet (bananas, rice, applesauce, toast) and it works great. You might be able to google it and see what other foods are included in the diet.

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I would have to defer to your doctor regarding how long diarrhea should last, however, make sure you're keeping him full of fluids...the right kind. You should probably avoid drinks that encourage regularity...like prune juice, sugary fruit juices...and also milk (which appears to make diarrhea worse). I guess that would leave water, pedialyte, and the Gerber version of pedialyte. If you're still nursing, naturally you can continue that.

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I agree with most of what everyone is saying, however I'd like to share a personal experience. My daughter had rotavirus when she was about the same age as your son. After a high fever (105) and 3 days of vomiting and diarrhea, she had become very lethargic. I had been calling the dr who kept brushing me off and telling me it takes longer for a child to get dehydrated than an adult (false.) On the 3rd day, the dr's office stopped returning my calls. My daughter was to the point where she could no longer sit up on her own. I finally called the dr's office and told them I was taking her to the ER. "Oh don't do that!" they said, and told me to bring her in to the office at 3pm that afternoon, but that if she got worse that I could come in earlier. I was at the point where I was using a medicine dropper to get fluid into her, and most of that was coming back up. She was so weak, so I decided to go on to the drs. I got there at 1pm (2 hrs before scheduled appt.) I sat in the waiting room with an unconscious toddler in my arms and watched them call 3 healthy kids in for sports physicals while I sat there. Once I finally got in to see the doc (not the same one I had been speaking with on the phone), he said "you need to take this child to the hospital right now!" I was so mad and scared because I had been trusting what the other dr had been telling me. We ended up spending 3 nights in the hospital, whereas if I'd taken her to the emergency room when I wanted, we maybe would've only had to spend a few hours or so. The point is, this is where I learned that 1)dr's are human just like everyone else and make mistakes 2)you have to exercise your own maternal judgment. This was a huge life lesson for me (and led me on a quest for a new pediatric practice.) No, there is really no medicine that can "cure" vomiting and diarrhea, but really monitor the lethargy situation. I will definitely second the BRAT diet, pedialyte, and yogurt. Those are all good, but when it comes down to fluids, even if all you can get in him is coke it's better than nothing. Avoid apple and grape juice completely - the sugar will totally make the diarrhea worse. You may have to avoid it for up to a month after he's better and push the yogurt for a while so the "good" bacteria in his digestive system can recover. Good luck, and I hope he feels better soon!

The major cause of diarrhea is virus infections... treatment of virus infections is usually left up to the patient's own immune system, although it may be hard to accept when the doctor says the only cure is for 'nature to take its course'.

:/

My daughter had flu B last week. My pediatrician told her that she would be out of school for a week. It takes a week for the flu to run it's course. She had similar symptoms--fever, upset stomach, no appetite, slept all the time. I took my daughter to the pediatrician because the swine flu is going around right now and there have been cases of it in Nashville. I was relieved that it was just the normal flu. It was a week before she went back to school and a good 10 days before she felt back to normal.

My guess is Rotovirus. It has a very distinct smell, one that will stink up the whole house kinda smell.
Is he still peeing enough. LIke at least 3-4 times a day. If not he's dehydrated. Needs IV fluids. If he is, then just keep treating for dehydration so it doesn't get worse. Pedialyte has popcicles, and of course the flavored drinks.

I would say as long as you feel he's taking his liquids then you should be ok. I've had to deal with diarrhea viruses a few times with my kids, and I always remember the diarrhea lasting at least a week if not two. You may also want to try making Gatorade popsicles if you are having trouble pushing the fluids. Good luck!

It could be a virus causing the diarrhea which could cause him to get dehydrated and make him lethargic. If you go to the pediatrician they are going to put him through lab work and see if he's dehydrated or they may be able to tell by how "dry" he looks. As in are his lips dry, his skin dry, his mouth dry, etc. If this is the case you need to get him to the doctor quickly so they can get him hydrated. Often times these viruses can be like a viscious cycle of vomiting diarrhea, dehydration, vomiting and so one for days. The important thing here is to make sure it's a virus. My son had vomiting and diarrhea for a week one time and the doctors thought it was a virus so for a week I had to put up with it until I finally said, he's not getting better can we do something. They finally checked his stool and found out he had gotten a bacterial infection and needed an antibiotic. After 2 doses of the antibiotic he was ready to go and much better.

We had a stomach flu that lasted much longer in our household than others had it. It is awful to see little ones that are so active be so lethargic. The pediatrician told me that pedialyte (or similar) is better than gatorade because gatorade has much more sugar. The key is to make sure he is well hydrated. They check for dehydration by the lips and pressing down on the fingernails to see how fast the blood flows back under the nail. This is very important as little ones can become dehydrated much quicker than adults. Try to give vitamins if you can and if he can stomach it. The longer this lasts, the more he will need nutrients in his body. When he does want to eat, try the BRAT diet. Bananas, plain rice, applesauce, and toast. I also found that plain oatmeal is tolerable too. I hope this is resolved soon and that you do not get it too.

With some viruses, diarrhea can last 2-3 weeks. Keep pushing the fluids, children this age are very susceptible to dehydration which can lead to electrolyte imbalances (which can be fatal). If the lethargy persists I would see the pediatrician again. Give it another day or two. My son had a virus recently (as in last week) that sounds very similar. He had a fever and was vomiting for a few days. Then the fever cleared and diarrhea followed for a few days. He was really lethargic too. Just let your kiddo sleep, constantly give fluids. If the fever returns or the vomiting returns...immediate doctor's appointment. Hope this helps!

This is going around. My mom has had it and several other people we know. So far, my son and I have managed to avoid it, we're keeping our fingers crossed.

We strongly suspect it's a variation of 'swine flu'. It definitely isn't 'normal' for an intestinal bug to linger that long. Keep an eye on his hydration and his temp. I don't like the fact that you're saying he's lethargic, he might need some IV fluids. I would take him in to a clinic or ER and have them evaluate him for dehydration.

Good luck and I hope your little guy feels better soon.

Hi J.. I'm sorry your little guy is so sick! My 2 yo daughter had a similar virus a couple of months ago. She started with a day of vomiting, then had about 4 or 5 days of the worst diarrhea I have ever seen in a child. She was also lethargic and would only play for a few minutes at a time, then just wanted to lay down or be held. She was going through clothes and sheets like crazy. After about 5 days she started to get better. I was also very freaked out and called the doc who told me the same thing - if she's taking in fluids then just wait it out. It will get better. Try to get him to eat crackers or other starchy foods, and lots of water or white grape juice. Not sure why but that is supposed to help with the diarrhea. My doc also had me buy a probiotic capsule that I broke into my daughters drinks, but I can't remember the name of it and I would check with the doc before doing that. Good luck, and make sure you call the doc if you think the lethargy is not normal or if his skin becomes so dry that you can pinch it and it doesn't bounce back or if he won't take any liquids or isn't wetting a diaper at LEAST every 8 hours.

get him to a doctor??? Reading other comments, they seem to not worry, I feel that is too long to be that ill. Yogurt is a great thing for diarhea.. highly recommended in Mexico, plus has other healthy nutrients, and with the variety of flavors, kids love it. I would say if he is not better by Friday, get him professional attention. God bless and guide you correctly.

YES!!! Unfortunately my daughter got something like this a couple of years ago and it got so bad I had to take Family Medical Leave at work. It lasted for over two weeks. It was terrible. She was about the same age. She was potty trained at the time but I had to put her in diapers. AWFUL!!!!

Beware of a new Samonella food poisoning that is taking toddlers in their sleep at night. It starts with a high fever fatigue in the evening and then they are gone by morning. Their parents treat them with tylenol and put them to bed thinking it's a stomach bug. Given conventional wisdom, you did the right thing. After learning what I know I will stay up with them and be ready to head to the ER. I'm just spreading the word.

J., first how lethargic is he??? If he is drinking, not sipping, fluids throughout the day and acting "normal with just a little more tired" then I say, continue the fluids and try to get him to eat a little. As a mom I have always given pickle juice for tummy virus' that usually last 7 to 10 without the pickle juice. I have also always given a mix of half apple juice, half water and a pinch of salt, same chemical makeup as pedialyte with better reception from the kids and cheaper. Works great. Avoid applesauce because this usually causes diarrhea. No sports drinks or cokes. Sports drinks have high levels of sodium and potassium that can cause serious damage to little ones unless they are outside in the heat sweating. Cokes have caffeine which is a natural diuretic causing more loss of fluids. I try to keep my kids away from cokes since they never drink enough water even when they are well.

If he continues to be lethargic and the diarrhea gets worse, get him to the doctor. If you don't feel they are doing enough...and yes, we as mother's have a sixth sense, go to the ER. It may be a little more of a problem for you and discomfort for him, but they can rule out a more serious problem if it exists. Is he still running a fever? how high? there are lots of other things to consider. Fever causes more fluid loss too. I would also advise being careful with the yogurt, yes it has important bacterie in it that's healthy but it is also a dairy product and with fever can cause tummy upset and more vomiting. Best of luck and I hope we have helped some. I don't want to scare you because it could be something as simple as a stomach virus. But you just never know and our kids are our lives. Take care and hope he feels better soon!

This does not sound normal to me. What fluids are you giving him? If it's just juice, soft drinks and other sugary fluids (Gatorade, etc.), it can actually make diarrhea worse, because he really needs to be taking in some salt. If you haven't been giving him something like Pedialyte, you should probably give him some. Also think about what else he has been ingesting -- antibiotics many times give kids diarrhea, because it messes up their normal, healthy gut bacteria (which help to digest food), so if he's been on that, you may need to give him probiotics (yogurt, acidophilus, etc.) to help repopulate his gut with good bacteria. Perhaps he has a food sensitivity -- perhaps something artificial like red dye #40 or something, or something like corn syrup -- if there is anything he has been eating a lot of, or if there is something that it's the only thing he's been eating, I would suspect that of contributing.

Viruses seem to be lasting longer these days, but little ones can become dehydrated quickly. Unless he's still peeing pretty good, he needs replacement fluids and maybe some mild anti-diarrhea med. You say he's lethargic, and being depleted of fluids 'saps' energy as well. Give him any high-calorie and nutrient-laden liquids he'll tolerate (Pedialyte, popsicles, jell-o, any juice that doesn't promote BM's, etc).

Hi J.,
My son had a virus a few weeks ago that lasted 6 days. There is really nothing you can do to get rid of it. Just let it run it's course. He had a fever for the first day or two and was vomiting several times those first few days then days 4,5, & 6 it was only once a day. He had diarrhea on days 3-6. The doctor said that this bug had been lasting a lot longer than normal based on what others in the community had been saying. Good luck. I wouln't worry unless he gets dehydrated.

Having diarrhea can really take it out of anyone, especially children. I would suggest something like Pedialite to help replenish his system. You can use Gatorade but it has a lot of sugar so dilute it by half with water. Our pediatrician would also encourage us to use the BRAT diet, Bananas, Rice, Applesauce, Tea-unsweetened. These foods can be binding and help the diarrhea to stop. If the BRAT diet does not work by the weekend I would call the dr. to find out if there is something else to try or medicine to help the diarrhea to stop. Good Luck

sounds like the roto virus, look it up see if it fits. if she is still wetting his diaper pretty often, has tears and his mouth is moist he is ok if not insist he be seen by the doctor. my daughter was in the hospital for roto b/c she started vomiting blood. not trying to scare you but kids get dehydrated easy

take him to the doctor. i dont think that is normal.

If it's rotavirus, the diarrhea can last for as much as 2 weeks. My son had 13 days of diarrhea when he was about a year old. The diaper rash was terrible. I hope your son gets better sooner though. It's tough on baby and mama.

--J. K

It's quite possible he has Rotovirus; a doctor can confirm it. There's not much you can do but keep him hydrated and ride it out. The only medication they would give you would be to help prevent vomiting. The key is that Rotovirus can be highly contagious but it's only spread through the poop. You have to make sure you wash your hands thoroughly after coming in contact with him and you should wipe down your entire house just in case. The virus can live up to a week I think. Good luck.

Noroviruses are short, 2-3 days, other viruses can run for 7 - 10 days.

Just keep up with the fluids.
If he is really dehydrated & refusing regular liquids, you can get the Pedialyte (sp) popscicles. (they have electrolytes in them)

There is also a brand of water called Smart Water, they make a plain old water with electrolytes if you don't care to feed you child artificial ingredients. I have seen it at Target.

Even the regular, neon colored, high fructose corn syrup wielding, el-cheap-o ice pops are better than him taking in nothing.

Patience will serve you.
Viruses run their course & then they are done.

Hang in there!!

P

If your son still has diarrhea today (Thursday), I believe I would take him to the ER and bypass the Doctor. Children should not have diarrhea that long. A friend's little girl had diarrhea on and on like that and it turned out to be Crones disease. She is six now and has recently had to have a feed tube inplanted into her abdomen. I don't want to be an alarmist, but a call to the Doctor just isn't enough after this long.

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