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Child with frequent bowel movement and fever. Anything serious?

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Emergency Medicine Specialist
Practicing since : 2006
Answered : 300 Questions
My one yr old had a fever yesterday and hasn't been really eating anything, his BM are light yellow and look like oatmeal, and has had about 3 to 5 of them each day. Will drink milk, he ended up puking last night as well. Suggestions?
Posted Tue, 12 Feb 2013 in Child Health
Answered by Dr. Sheeba Stephen 4 hours later
Hello and welcome to Healthcare Magic. Thanks for your query.

From the description of your son's symptoms (fever, frequent bowel movements, poor appetite and vomiting), it appears that he may be having a gastro-enteritis - which is an infection / inflammation of the digestive tract. The most common cause for this in infants is a viral infection. Most of these subside on their own and all what is required is supportive treatment.

I would suggest the following:
1) Keep him adequately hydrated. You can give him Oral Rehydration Solution (ORS) frequently, in order to replenish the water and salt loss from frequent stools, vomiting.
2) You can give him Paracetamol (Acetaminophen) syrup for his fever - the dosage would be 15mg per kg body weight, per dose - so if he weighs 6 kg, then he would require 6 x 15 = 90mg (usually syrups come in a concentration of 120mg per 5ml)
3) Give him a bland diet for the next few days. If he is reluctant to eat solid food, then you can keep giving him small quantities of liquid food frequently.
4) You can follow a 'wait-and-watch' policy and observe for any 'danger signs'. In case his fever persists for more than 3 days of he develops any other complications like blood or mucus in stools, drowsiness or lethargy, inability to take oral fluids or any signs of severe dehydration, then you will have to take him to the hospital urgently.

Wish you all the best.

Dr. Sheeba Stephen
Emergency Medicine Specialist
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Child with frequent bowel movement and fever. Anything serious? 2 hours later
Because of the frequent BM, his bum is very red and sore. Besides vaseline and diaper oinment can u recommend anything else? How long do these inlfammation/infections usually last roughly?

Thank u so much,

Answered by Dr. Sheeba Stephen 9 hours later
Hello again,

For the redness and soreness, you can try the following:
- Avoid using any medicated wipes as this can often worsen the irritation.
- Frequent wiping with dry tissue can also aggravate the inflammation. The best thing to do is to use plain tissues dipped in warm water. Also, try not to rub the area while wiping, but rather gently dab with the moist tissue.
- Keep the area free from dampness; you can frequently keep opening up the diaper to allow ventilation.
- Use loose diapers and keep changing them more frequently.
- You can also use a mild antibiotic cream such as neosporin to prevent infection.

Dr. Sheeba Stephen
Emergency Medicine Specialist
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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