Most cases of diarrhea (runny or watery bowel movements) are caused by a viral infection in the intestines (bowels). Diarrhea usually is not a sign of a serious illness, but it can make kids lose fluids, salts, and minerals. If your child has diarrhea, it's important to make sure fluids and nutrients are replaced. What Are the Signs & Symptoms of Diarrhea? loose and frequent poops cramping belly pain fever loss of appetite feeling tired weight loss dehydration What to Do Depending on the amount of fluid lost and the severity of diarrhea, your doctor will suggest that you: continue your child's regular diet and give more liquids offer additional breast milk or formula to infants use an oral rehydration solution (ORS) to replace lost fluids Do not offer plain water to infants — it doesn't have enough sodium and other minerals. Avoid apple juice and other sweet drinks because they may make diarrhea worse. Get Medical Care if Your Child: is younger than 6 months old has severe or lasting diarrhea vomits repeatedly or refuses to drink liquids is peeing less than usual has severe belly pain has diarrhea that contains blood or mucus Think Prevention! Make sure kids wash their hands well and often to avoid infections from germs that can cause diarrhea. Wash fruits and vegetables thoroughly before eating. Refrigerate meats as soon as possible after buying them and cook them until they're no longer pink. Back to Articles Related Articles Word! Diarrhea If you've ever had a bad time in the bathroom, then you know what this is. Read More A to Z: Gastroenteritis Gastroenteritis is an infection that causes vomiting and diarrhea. Read More Dehydration Dehydration is when the amount of water in the body has dropped too low. Read about what causes dehydration, what it does to your body, and how to prevent it. Read More Stomachaches Ugh. Bellyaches. Find out what causes tummy trouble in this article for kids. Read More E. Coli Undercooked burgers and unwashed produce are among the foods that can harbor E. coli bacteria and lead to infection marked by severe diarrhea. Here's how to protect your family. Read More Campylobacter Infections These bacterial infections can cause diarrhea, cramping, abdominal pain, and fever. Good hand-washing and food safety habits can help prevent them. Read More Pyloric Stenosis Pyloric stenosis can make a baby vomit forcefully and often. It can lead to serious problems like dehydration, and needs medical treatment right away. Read More Helicobacter pylori H. pylori bacteria can cause digestive illnesses, including gastritis and peptic ulcer disease. Read More E. Coli Undercooked burgers and unwashed produce are among the foods that can harbor E. coli bacteria and lead to infection and severe diarrhea. Here's how to protect yourself. Read More Food Poisoning The germs that get into food and cause food poisoning are tiny, but can have a powerful effect on the body. Find out what to do if you get food poisoning - and how to prevent it. Read More Food Poisoning Sometimes, germs can get into food and cause food poisoning. Find out what to do if your child gets food poisoning - and how to prevent it. Read More Diarrhea Most kids battle diarrhea from time to time, so it's important to know what to do to relieve and even prevent it. Read More Vomiting Most vomiting is caused by gastroenteritis, and usually isn't serious. These home-care tips can help prevent dehydration. Read More Diarrhea Nearly everybody gets diarrhea every once in a while, and it's usually caused by gastrointestinal infections. It's nothing to be embarrassed about. Read this article to learn more. Read More Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor. © 1995-2021 KidsHealth®. All rights reserved. Images provided by The Nemours Foundation, iStock, Getty Images, Veer, Shutterstock, and Clipart.com.