What may increase your child's risk for problems from diarrhea?

Many conditions, medicines, and diseases interfere with your child's ability to heal or fight infection. Your child may be at risk for a more serious problem from his or her symptoms if he or she has any of the following. Be sure to tell your child's health professional.


  • A newborn or is less than 3 months old. Newborns younger than 3 months of age have a greater risk for developing dehydration than older infants and children.
  • Babies born prematurely. This risk continues until the child is 6 months older than when he or she was expected to be born.
  • Abnormally slow growth and development
  • Developed diarrhea:
    • After drinking untreated water or unpasteurized dairy products
    • During or after traveling, especially in underdeveloped areas of the world
    • During or after a ship cruise
  • Exposure to other family members or friends with diarrhea
  • History of intussusception
  • Previous abdominal surgery
  • A family history of HIV or high-risk behaviors, such as drug abuse
  • Day care or group living situations, such as dormitories, summer camps, and shelter homes
  • Exposure to farm animals or reptiles, such as snakes, lizards, or turtles
  • Exposure to poisons, such as pesticides


  • Antibiotics, such as ampicillin, amoxicillin, clindamycin, tetracycline, and cephalosporins. Diarrhea is of particular concern if your child has recently been hospitalized and received intravenous (IV) antibiotics.
  • Antidepressants, such as fluoxetine (Prozac) or sertraline (Zoloft)
  • Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, such as captopril (Capoten) or enalapril (Vasotec)
  • Antacids containing magnesium
  • Colchicine
  • Corticosteroid treatment, such as prednisone
  • Digoxin
  • Diuretics, such as furosemide or thiazides
  • Laxatives, such as Correctol, Dulcolax, Ex-Lax, or Feen-a-Mint
  • Medicines to prevent organ transplant rejection
  • Medicines used to treat cancer (chemotherapy)
  • Metformin
  • Propranolol, such as Inderal
  • Radiation therapy
  • Quinidine, such as Cardioquin or Quin-Release
  • Theophylline, such as Theo-24


  • Cancer
  • Diabetes
  • Digestive problems, such as lactose intolerance
  • Heart disease
  • Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection
  • Inflammatory bowel disease, such as Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis
  • Kidney disease
  • Malabsorption syndromes, such as celiac disease or cystic fibrosis
  • Malnutrition

Last Updated: April 28, 2008

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