When to Go to Urgent Care For Diarrhea?

on September 5th, 2023
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in Health Information and Tips

Diarrhea causes you to release watery and loose stool three or more times daily. You can develop acute, persistent, or chronic diarrhea. Although diarrhea is a typical health condition, acute diarrhea is more prevalent than persistent or chronic diarrhea. Research estimates that at least 179 million acute diarrhea infections occur in the United States. According to the CDC, diarrhea diseases account for 1 of 9 child deaths worldwide, making it the second leading cause of death for children under 5. Fortunately, you can recover from diarrhea if you seek timely care from a health facility. If you or a loved one suffers from diarrhea, consider visiting a trusted urgent care center in Newport Beach. Here’s what you need to know.

Symptoms of Diarrhea

Diarrhea comes as a mild illness that goes away without any intervention. However, if diarrhea symptoms fail to improve or go away, you could be at risk of complications— diarrhea, kidney failure, organ damage, or electrolyte imbalance. Signs and symptoms of diarrhea include:

  • Fever
  • Blood in the stool
  • Mucus in the stool
  • Abdominal pain or cramps
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Bloating
  • An urgent need to visit the bathroom

When to Go to Urgent Care For Diarrhea?

When to Go to Urgent Care For Diarrhea

You should visit an urgent care center if you have diarrhea whose symptoms fail to improve or disappear. If you’re an adult, visit an urgent care center if:

  • If the diarrhea persists for over two days with no improvement
  • You have a fever over 39°
  • You develop dehydration
  • You’re producing black or bloody stool
  • You develop severe rectal or abdominal pain

A child—especially an infant— with diarrhea can quickly develop dehydration. Visit an urgent care center if:

  • If the child’s diarrhea doesn’t improve within 24 hours
  • The child develops bloody or black stool
  • The child has a fever above 39°

Watch out for the following alarming symptoms, which signify the need for emergency medical attention:

  • Rapid heart attack
  • Irritability and Confusion
  • Dizziness and lightheadedness
  • A flushed, dry skin

Diarrhea Complications

Dehydration is a common complication for adults and children and is often life-threatening for people with a compromised immune system. If you have symptoms of severe dehydration, seek immediate medical attention. Signs of dehydration in adults include:

  • Fatigue
  • Dry skin or mouth
  • Excessive thirst
  • Dark-colored urine
  • Dizziness, weakness, and light-headedness
  • Little or no urination

Indications of children and young infants include:

  • Crying without tears
  • Dry tongue and mouth
  • Not wetting diapers in three or more hours
  • Irritability, drowsiness, and unresponsiveness
  • Fever above 39°C
  • Sunken appearance to the eyes, cheeks, or abdomen.

Treatment of Diarrhea at an Urgent Care Center


During diagnosis, the doctor will ask about your medical history, review your medication, and perform a physical exam to determine the cause of your diarrhea.  The doctor may also perform the following tests:

  • Stool Test: The doctor may order a stool test to look for genetic material for viruses, bacteria, and parasites that cause diarrhea.
  • Blood Test: The physician may order a specific antibody test to clarify a diagnosis. Alternatively, the doctor may order a complete blood count test to measure electrolytes to establish diarrhea severity.
  • Hydrogen Breath Test: The doctor may order a hydrogen breath test to evaluate your lactose, bacterial overgrowth, or fructose intolerance.


If your diarrhea symptoms fail to disappear within a couple of days, the doctor may recommend the following medications and treatment plans:

  • Antibiotics: The doctor may recommend antibiotics or anti-parasites if bacteria or parasites cause diarrhea. Unfortunately, antibiotics don’t work for diarrhea caused by a virus.
  • Treatments to Replace Fluids: The doctor will offer advice and treatment on replacing fluids and salts. It means taking fluids with electrolytes, such as juice or broth, for adults. If you’re unable to drink fluids, the doctor may recommend Intravenous fluids(IV).
  • Treating a Specific Condition: Diarrhea is a sign of a more severe condition, and the doctor will work to control the illness. Diarrhea may indicate other conditions, such as irritable bowel syndrome, microscopic colitis, or bacteria overgrowth.

How to Prevent a Diarrhea Infection

  • Good Hygiene Habits: Wash your hands with soap and water after using the bathroom before eating, cooking, or handling food.
  • Proper Food Storage: Store your food at the right temperatures and avoid consuming expired items.
  • Vaccination: By getting vaccinated, you can protect your infant from rotavirus, the most common cause of viral diarrhea in children. Children get several doses of rotavirus in their first year after birth.

Fast Your Recovery From Diarrhea; Visit Newport Urgent Care Center Today

In addition to irritating symptoms like bloating and nausea, diarrhea can trigger other complications. If left untreated, diarrhea can cause dehydration which is life-threatening in children and adults. To that end, seeking quality and timely treatment at an urgent care center is advisable. Newport Urgent Care Center and Occupational Medicine have highly qualified and trained staff ready to diagnose and treat you. Contact us online or call us at 949.752.6300 to book an appointment.