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What causes recurrent viral diarrhea in children?

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Posted on Mon, 1 Jun 2015
Question: 3 yr old boy in the last month had numerous trips to doctor and x-ray. First visit to doctor was for diarrhea (several watery diapers), high temperature and cough lasted for 10 plus days. Doctor did a stool sample and chest xray. Diagnosis pheumonia. Got better after antibiotic symptoms went away. Second occurrence child sent home from daycare after throwing up with upset stomach (one time) got better on his own. Second trip to doctor child upset stomach again this time throwing up several times and diarrhea several times lasted a couple of days had elevated temperature. Doctor sent him for another chest xray to make sure pheumonia was gone had little cough. Got better and returned to normal. Now just again upset stomach (throwing up a couple of times) with diarrhea (several times) lasting two days just took to doctor again with no fever or any other symptoms. This all happened within a month to month and half span. Other than the diagnosis of pheumonia the pediatrician keeps telling me he has a bug that is going around or virus. The child is in day care and the stomach flu has been going around but can he get it 3 times in row within a month? Each time he fully recovers and it comes back. The only complaints he has is his stomach hurts. When these episodes come on he has a decreased appetite but stays well hydrated. The throwing up is not after he eats his decreased appetite starts before he has an upset stomach.
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Answered by Dr. Sumanth Amperayani (41 minutes later)
Brief Answer:
It is quite common to get viral diarrheas like this

Detailed Answer:
Hi...Thank you for consulting in Health Care magic.

It is very common for viral diarrheas to recurr in day care centers and the viral illness can take the form or recurrent cough and cold too.

It seems your kid is having recurrent viral diarrhoea. Once it starts it will take 5-7 days to completely get better. Unless the kid's having low urine output or very dull or excessively sleepy or blood in motion or green bilious vomiting...you need not worry.

There is no need to use antibiotics unless there is blood in the motion. Antibiotics might worsen if unnecessarily used causing antibiotic associated diarrhoea.

I suggest you use zinc supplements (Z&D drops 1ml once daily for 14 days) & ORS (Each small packet mixed in 200ml of potable water and keep giving sip by sip) as hydration is very important and crucial part of treatment. If there is vomiting you can use Syrup Ondansetron (as prescribed by your paediatrician).

Regarding diet - You can use cerelac...any flavour will do. Avoid fruit juices as they might aggravate diarrhea. You can give zinc supplements & ORS apart from normal vegetarian porridges & soups.

Hope my answer was helpful for you. I am happy to help any time. Further clarifications and consultations on Health care magic are welcome. If you do not have any clarifications, you can close the discussion and rate the answer. Wish your kid good health.
Dr. Sumanth MBBS., DCH., DNB (Paed).,
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
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Follow up: Dr. Sumanth Amperayani (23 hours later)
Is it normal to have reoccurring vomiting as well sometimes associated with a fever? In the last month he has had 3 times vomiting as well. It goes away he gets back to normal and it comes back.
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Answered by Dr. Sumanth Amperayani (17 minutes later)
Brief Answer:
It is normal - don't worry - looks like viral illness

Detailed Answer:
Hi....by what you quote I feel that it could be a recurrent viral illness. Don't worry.

Unless the kid's having low urine output or very dull or excessively sleepy or blood in motion or green bilious vomiting...you need not worry.

Occasional fever too is not to be worried about. I will suggest you how a viral illness behaves, so that you will be more comfortable.

Fever of few days without any localizing signs could as well a viral illness. Usually rather than fever, what is more important is the activity of the child, in between 2 fever episodes on the same day. If the kid is active and playing around when there is no fever, it is probably viral illness and it doesn't require antibiotics at all. Once viral fever comes it will there for even 4-7 days. So do not worry about duration if the kid is active.

Regards - Dr. Sumanth
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Shanthi.E
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Answered by
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Dr. Sumanth Amperayani

Pediatrician, Pulmonology

Practicing since :2003

Answered : 8342 Questions

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What causes recurrent viral diarrhea in children?

Brief Answer: It is quite common to get viral diarrheas like this Detailed Answer: Hi...Thank you for consulting in Health Care magic. It is very common for viral diarrheas to recurr in day care centers and the viral illness can take the form or recurrent cough and cold too. It seems your kid is having recurrent viral diarrhoea. Once it starts it will take 5-7 days to completely get better. Unless the kid's having low urine output or very dull or excessively sleepy or blood in motion or green bilious vomiting...you need not worry. There is no need to use antibiotics unless there is blood in the motion. Antibiotics might worsen if unnecessarily used causing antibiotic associated diarrhoea. I suggest you use zinc supplements (Z&D drops 1ml once daily for 14 days) & ORS (Each small packet mixed in 200ml of potable water and keep giving sip by sip) as hydration is very important and crucial part of treatment. If there is vomiting you can use Syrup Ondansetron (as prescribed by your paediatrician). Regarding diet - You can use cerelac...any flavour will do. Avoid fruit juices as they might aggravate diarrhea. You can give zinc supplements & ORS apart from normal vegetarian porridges & soups. Hope my answer was helpful for you. I am happy to help any time. Further clarifications and consultations on Health care magic are welcome. If you do not have any clarifications, you can close the discussion and rate the answer. Wish your kid good health. Dr. Sumanth MBBS., DCH., DNB (Paed).,