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Stomach bugs, like rotavirus, can really do a number on a child's (or grown-up's) digestive system. With any stomach virus, diarrhea normally lasts for a week or so. But diarrhea longer than that should be investigated. One possible cause: Toddlers usually drink milk as their beverage of choice. But stomach viruses can break down our body's supply of lactase, the enzyme that digests milk sugar, leaving us temporarily lactose-intolerant. This is may be why the diarrhea persists, and the diarrhea should get better if you give your child lactose-free milk and dairy products for a couple of weeks. You can also give your child probiotics (supplements of "good" bacteria that help maintain a healthy digestive tract) if your pediatrician approves. If the diarrhea doesn't get better over the next week, let the pediatrician know. She may want to see your child and get a sample of her poop. Sometimes prolonged diarrhea can be caused by a parasite, which needs to be treated with medication.
The answers from our experts are for educational purposes only. Please always refer to your child's pediatrician and mental health expert for more in-depth advice.