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Diarrhea is usually not a cause for alarm, but in some cases, it can be a warning sign of a serious illness or medical condition. If you have diarrhea, it means you have watery or loose stools that occurs three or more times during the day. Acute diarrhea is a quick onset symptom and a very common condition cared for at Dignity Health Central California.
If you need to visit the ER for diarrhea in Central California, use our online scheduling tool, InQuicker, to select your estimated arrival time, then wait at home until your appointment time.
When to Visit the ER for Diarrhea
You should seek medical attention as soon as possible for diarrhea with these symptoms:
- Diarrhea lasting more than two days
- Blood or pus in the stool
- Severe abdominal pain
- Black, tarry stools (a sign of bleeding from the digestive tract)
- High fever
- Signs of dehydration
For a clear diagnosis of your symptoms, meet with a skilled doctor at Dignity Health Central California. We offer personalized care with humankindness for all types of sudden onset symptoms.
The most common symptoms of diarrhea include:
- Loose, watery stool
- Urgent need to have a bowel movement
- Abdominal pain
Diarrhea for even a short period of time can lead to dehydration as the body loses fluids very quickly. You should see your doctor or seek emergency care if you notice these signs of dehydration:
- Dark urine
- Urinating less than normal
- Feeling lightheaded or dizzy
In infants, toddlers, and children, dehydration is often present with sunken eyes or cheeks, no wet diapers for several hours, dry mouth and tongue, and no crying with tears.
Find emergency care for diarrhea and dehydration at these locations:
Understanding Diarrhea Causes
Most instances of sudden diarrhea are caused by viral infections, such as the stomach flu (viral gastroenteritis). Children and adults can get these viruses through contact with contaminated water or food. Additional causes of diarrhea include bacterial infections (such as Salmonella) and those from parasites (such as Giardia).
Reliable Diarrhea Treatment at Dignity Health Central California
For bacterial and parasitic infections, our doctors may recommend anti-infective medicines. For viral diarrhea, treatment focuses on preventing dehydration, until the virus is cleared from the body by the immune system. Your doctor may also prescribe antidiarrheal medicines for viral diarrhea. These should not be given to children.
Find a Doctor to learn more about how to care for yourself or a loved one while diarrhea symptoms persist. Dignity Health Central California is here to help you recover and prevent future illnesses that may cause diarrhea.
Dignity Health Central California offers compassionate care to treat all causes of diarrhea in Bakersfield, Merced, San Andreas, and Stockton, CA.