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Children's Health

Mucus in poop

05/19/2008

Question:

My 1 year old child was having fever 4 days back. Since his temperature was not very high (rectal temp. only 102 degree) we gave him Tylenol. He is feeling better since last 2 days but his appetite has gone down really bad. He used to poop only once everyday and now he poops 3 times. Today morning I saw mucus kind of thing in his poop. He didn`t have much poop but i could see the white mucus more. He seems sleepy all the time. Today he took a nap for more than 3 hrs continuously. Could all this be realated to his fever that he had couple of days back? Please advice.

Answer:

Fevers do make children drowsy. It also alters their appetite. Both symptoms are adaptive. If a child is ill, the body needs to devote energy to destroying the invading bacteria or virus not to play and exploration. Bacteria thrive on glucose, so by eating less, your child's body provides less fuel for the bacteria to multiply and make him sicker. Fevers also fight infections by making it more difficult for bacteria to grow in the hotter body environment, so fevers are not all bad. Tylenol or Advil will make the child feel better, but they do not treat the cause of the illness.

It's always a good idea to check with your child's doctor for fevers at or above 102 degrees F in young children. It never hurts, even though the cause of the fever is often a viral illness that medications do not cure. your mind will be relieved and a serious illness will not be missed.

One year-olds do normally have a drop in appetite.  Bowel movement patterns also change often in young children both because of illness as well as their changing daily food intake in terms of amounts and types of food. Bowel frequency changes are not necessarily a sign of a problem.

Generally speaking, mucous in the stool is not normal. If he has eaten very little, mucous in the stool is more common. With a fever and mucous in the stool, I would recommend taking the child to the doctor and bringing along the mucousy stool in a ziplock bag so that the doctor can see what you are concerned about.

I hope this information is helpful and that by the time you are reading this reply, your son has fully recovered.  

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Response by:

Mary M Gottesman, PhD, RN, CPNP, FAAN Mary M Gottesman, PhD, RN, CPNP, FAAN
Professor of Clinical Nursing
College of Nursing
The Ohio State University