Is your child passing loose stools? Is your child complaining of pain in abdomen? Are there any vomiting? Your child may have caught an infection of the gut (intestines) – gastroenteritis.
What is Gastroenteritis?
It is a commonplace infection of the intestine, to which most children fall prey to. Infact they suffer from this disease more than once a year. Caused by microbes such as virus and bacteria, this disease can range from mild to severe, depending upon the severity of the symptoms.
How can it be recognised?
It is easy to identify this problem because the symptoms are typical, generally mild in nature that wean away in a week’s time. It is a severe case if the symptoms last for more than a week. These typical symptoms are as follows:
- Diarrhoea: If the child passes loose or watery faeces frequently during a day, then itâ€™s diarrhoea and it is dangerous because it causes loss of water in the body. Under severe circumstances, blood or mucus can also accompany faeces.
- Vomiting: If the condition is severe then the patient also vomits out a lot. This is also leads to loss of water in body. Both vomiting and diarrhoea can cause dehydration in the body leading to extended symptoms like:
- dry mouth
- pale body colour
- sunken eyes
- general weakness
- less urine
- Abdominal Pain
What are the causes?
Germs cause gastroenteritis and viruses are the most notorious of all. Rota-virus and Adenovirus are some common groups that affect infants and children. For answer to the question that how does a child contracts such microbes, consider the following:
- Contact with another infected person: This is a communicable disease and can easily spread if a child eats something cooked by another patient, or touches any object in contact with the infected person. Hence, washing hands after being to toilet is strongly suggested.
- Outbreak of virus in a specific area
- Food poisoning: If bacterial infection has spoiled a food item, consumption of the same can cause this disease.
- Contaminated water
- Red Flag Signs
- Blood in stool
- Uncontrolled vomiting
- Refusal to feed/eat
- Age less than 1 year â€“ donâ€™t treat at home, contact your pediatrician immediately.
- Decreased Urine output
- High Grade Fever
If any of these signs, contact your pediatrician immediately.
This condition can easily be taken care of when not severe. If the following steps are followed, then a child can recover in a weekâ€™s time.
- Restoring water content in the body: Most of the symptoms are due to dehydration. The immediate step a parent must take is to restore water balance in body. The child must be fed a lot of liquids like Water, ORS, Coconut water, Lassi, suagr & salt water solution and rehydration concoctions.
- Healthy Diet: Continuous defecation and frequent vomiting drain out a lot of energy which has to be restored through timely fed meals.
Under severe circumstances when the child is already dehydrated or the condition does not subside within a week, one should immediately seek medical advice.