Symptoms - Diarrhoea in babies and children

Diarrhoea is poo that is more watery and loose than usual. It can cause poos to happen more frequently.

There are two main types of diarrhoea:

  • acute diarrhoea
  • chronic diarrhoea

Acute diarrhoea starts suddenly and lasts for less than 2 weeks. It's more common in babies and children.

Chronic diarrhoea lasts longer than 2 weeks. It's usually caused by another health condition and will not go away until the other condition is treated.

Important

Contact your GP immediately or go to your nearest hospital if your child shows any signs of severe dehydration

Symptoms of diarrhoea

Symptoms of acute diarrhoea will usually last between 3 and 5 days. They can include:

  • loose or watery poo
  • pooing more than 3 times a day
  • vomiting
  • high temperature
  • tummy pains
  • dehydration

Dehydration

Your child may become dehydrated if they have severe diarrhoea or vomiting.

Signs of dehydration are more likely in children who are:

  • under 1 year old
  • breastfed and stop feeding
  • not drinking fluids

Symptoms of dehydration include:

  • passing less urine than normal
  • weakness
  • less energy than usual
  • irritability
  • less tears when crying
  • a dry mouth, lips and tongue

Symptoms of severe dehydration include:

  • less wet nappies than usual
  • being drowsy or hard to wake
  • pale or blotchy skin
  • cold hands and feet
  • 6 or more bouts of diarrhoea in 24 hours
  • 3 or more bouts of vomiting in 24 hours

Page last reviewed: 20 November 2018
Next review due: 20 November 2021

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