From seasonal cold and cough to digestive complaints, young children are often, susceptible to many disorders and illnesses; and you, as a mother, would do anything possible to ensure the health and safety of your kid. Diarrhea is one such common health condition, and it is usually very brief and goes away quickly. But it can get worse if left untreated for long, sometimes even fatally so.
To help you understand this condition better, we have put down a general overview of the condition; its causes, symptoms and treatment options. Read on to know more about diarrhea in kids.
Diarrhea in Children – What Is It?
Simply put, diarrhea is a condition wherein your kid may have more bowel movements than usual, and the stools formed would be water and loose. Basically, diarrhea is the body’s way of relieving itself from the harmful bacteria and viruses that may have caused certain disturbances.
Common Causes Of Diarrhea:
The germs that cause diarrhea vary from one geographical
Children living in regions having poor sanitation facilities are more likely to fall prey to diarrhea and many other health conditions. In developed countries where proper sanitation facilities are available, diarrhea may be caused due to contamination of water and foods and may also occur due to person-to-person contact.
How Does Diarrhea Occur?
Basically, diarrhea occurs when an individual comes in contact with certain bacteria and viruses that may be harmful for the gastrointestinal tract. Diarrheal infections are usually believed to spread through:
- Direct contact with infected fecal matter (dirty diapers, from the toilet, etc.).
- Exposure of fecal matter of certain pets.
- Consumption of contaminated food and water.
- Improper personal hygiene which is linked to ingestion of bacteria.
- Use of certain medications, particularly antibiotics.
- Food poisoning.
- Presence of other health conditions such as irritable bowel disease, Crohn’s disease, celiac disease, etc.
In kids, diarrhoea is most commonly observed since they tend to ingest germs that cause the infection- picking up toys and other objects from the ground and putting it in the mouth etc.
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Signs And Symptoms Of Diarrhea:
It is important to detect diarrhea at its very beginning to avoid complications. Here are some common signs and symptoms of diarrhea in children that could be pointing out to the fact that your kid is affected by it.
- Light to moderate fever
- Loss of appetite
- Weight loss
- Loose, watery stools
- Frequent defecation
- Stomach pain
Treatment Options And Remedies:
Though diarrhea is not a severe health condition where you need to rush to the doctor immediately, you will need to be careful and tackle it right away once you detect it. Leaving diarrhea untreated and allowing it to progress could be potentially life-threatening in certain situations.
- Diarrhea is directly linked to loss of fluids from the body, which may lead to dehydration and several other health problems. Oral rehydration is an absolute must when it comes to handling diarrhea.
- Make sure you encourage consumption of fluids if your child is affected by diarrhea. Oral rehydration solutions work best, since they help provide your child’s body the lost salts as well.
- Usually, doctors don’t prescribe antibiotic medications to kids affected by diarrhea and allow the body itself to fight against the bacteria; however, if your kid suffers from weakened immunity, oral antibiotics may be needed.
- Also, at this point, avoid giving your child any solid foods, and stick to light liquids. Once his bowel movements become regular, and his vomiting, if any, stops, you can start with light foods that are easy to digest.
- Avoid any form of processed foods and sugary drinks while your child is affected by diarrhea. If your kid is still breastfeeding, doesn’t fear- if your child is hungry, you can still feed him.
- In certain cases, children may be affected by diarrhea due to a condition known as lactose intolerance, where the child may not be able to digest milk products. It is a good idea to get your kid tested for this condition to rule out the risk.
- Keep monitoring your kid’s temperature. If you find the temperature shooting up, rush to the doctor.
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Prevention is, no doubt, better than cure; and to help you out with that, here we’ve put down a short list of the common preventive measures you could implement to make sure your kid is well protected against diarrhea.
- Make sure your kid washes his hands every single time before sitting down to eat. Washing hands is one of the most effective ways to prevent all kinds of infections.
- Implement excellent sanitation facilities; it is yet another effective way to ensure that your kid is protected from all forms of potential infectious agents.
- Avoid offering foods prepared at roadside stalls and fast food joints- they tend to be prepared in unhygienic conditions and may raise the risk of digestive problems.
- Cook meats properly since half cooked meats often contain salmonella bacteria, which are one of the major causes of gastrointestinal problems including diarrhea.
- Wash fruits and vegetables thoroughly before offering them to your kid.
- Make sure your kid doesn’t pick up things fallen on to the floor and put them in his mouth.
- Try to use packed, pure drinking water when travelling; never allow your kid to drink from any roadside water source.
There are many controversial studies today, where researchers believe that it is almost impossible to prevent diarrhea in children; but who says you can’t try? Following the simple tips listed above can help you prevent almost all forms of bacterial and viral infections in kids. Remember to keep a close eye on your kid during these developing years and seek medical attention whenever necessary.
Share your kids diarrhea experiences with us:
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