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Discharge Instructions for Intussusception (Child)

Your child has intussusception. This is a health problem in which part of the intestine slides inside another part. (The same way that parts of a telescope slide inside each other when you close it.) Blood flow to part of the intestine can then become blocked. This can cause severe damage if not treated. Intussusception can happen anywhere in the bowel. It occurs most often where the large intestine and small intestine meet. The cause is often not known.

A fluid or air enema is often used to both diagnose and treat the problem. A flexible tube puts fluid or air into the intestine. Then, special X-rays are taken. The force of the fluid or air going into the intestine often straightens it.

Home care

  • Let your child get back to normal activity as soon as he or she feels up to it.

  • This health problem can sometimes come back. Watch your child for signs. Look for belly (abdominal) pain that gets worse, or vomiting. Also look for crying spells without a cause and drawing the legs up toward the belly.

  • Feed your child a normal diet.

Follow-up care

Follow up with your child’s healthcare provider, or as told.

When to call your child’s healthcare provider

Call your child's healthcare provider right away if your child has:

  • Fever (see below)

  • Belly pain that comes and goes

  • Constant belly pain that doesn't get better or seems to be getting worse

  • Vomiting

  • Extreme sluggishness, tiredness, or fatigue

  • Dark, mucus-like, bloody stools

  • Pale skin color

Fever and children

Always use a digital thermometer to check your child’s temperature. Never use a mercury one.

For infants and toddlers, be sure to use a rectal thermometer the right way. The thermometer may accidentally poke a hole in the rectum. It may also pass on germs from the stool. Always follow the product maker’s directions for proper use. If you don’t feel comfortable taking a rectal temperature, do it another way. When you talk to your child’s healthcare provider, tell him or her which way you used.

Here are guidelines for fever temperature. Ear temperatures aren’t exact before 6 months of age. Don’t take an oral temperature until your child is at least 4 years old.

Infant younger than 3 months of age:

  • Ask your child’s healthcare provider how you should take the temperature.

  • Rectal or forehead temperature of 100.4°F (38°C) or higher, or as directed by the provider

  • Armpit temperature of 99°F (37.2°C) or higher, or as directed by the provider

Child age 3 to 36 months:

  • Rectal, forehead, or ear temperature of 102°F (38.9°C) or higher, or as directed by the provider

  • Armpit temperature of 101°F (38.3°C) or higher, or as directed by the provider

Child of any age:

  • Repeated temperature of 104°F (40°C) or higher, or as directed by the provider

  • Fever that lasts more than 24 hours in a child younger than age 2

  • Fever that lasts for 3 days in a child 2 years or older

© 2000-2022 The StayWell Company, LLC. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.
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