How to Treat Diarrhea

Symptoms of diarrhea include frequent loose stools, abdominal cramps, and dehydration, all of which are uncomfortable for you or your children. Because diarrhea is usually not a serious illness, it can easily be treated at home.


  • Step 1: Increase fluids Treat your child's diarrhea at home by increasing fluids that help replace electrolytes, like sports drinks. For babies, offer them additional breast milk or formula.
  • TIP: Avoid plain water, fruit juice, and sodas.
  • Step 2: Keep regular diet Continue your child on their regular diet.
  • Step 3: Wash hands Frequently wash your hands and your child's hands. Keep suspected diarrhea contaminated areas clean.
  • Step 4: Consult a doctor Consult a doctor if your child's symptoms do not improve within 24 hours. Call a doctor if your baby has not had a wet diaper in over three hours, has a fever higher than 102 degrees Fahrenheit, is unusually sleepy, has a dry mouth, or has bloody or black stools.
  • Step 5: Drink clear fluids Treat diarrhea in adults by drinking plenty of clear fluids such as water, broths, and gelatins. Avoid coffee, alcohol, and apple and pear juices.
  • Step 6: Add solid foods Gradually add solid and low fiber foods such as soda crackers, toast, and chicken.
  • TIP: Avoid dairy products, high fiber, and fatty foods.
  • Step 7: Call a doctor Consult a doctor if you are an adult and the diarrhea lasts longer than three days, you are dehydrated, and you have severe rectal or abdominal pain, bloody or black stools, or a temperature above 102 degrees Fahrenheit. Eating the right things -- or getting the right advice from the doctor -- will have you back to your regular self in no time.
  • FACT: Acute diarrhea is commonly caused by consuming food or water contaminated with a viral infection, bacteria, or parasite.

You Will Need

  • Fluids
  • Clean hands
  • Doctor

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