2023 Author: Anita Thornton | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-07-31 02:08
Childhood diarrhea can have many causes, but it is most often viral in origin. This is why most children with diarrhea recover on their own.
Diarrhea is sometimes the only symptom, but a child may have multiple symptoms, such as vomiting and low-grade fever (a condition known as gastroenteritis). In most cases, the duration of illness ranges from three to six days.
What problems can occur?
The main problem with diarrhea (and vomiting) is dehydration. Children can easily become dehydrated if they lose more fluid than they take in. Caring for a dehydrated child is like playing a game where the goal is to get the child to drink enough to make up for fluid loss from diarrhea.
What is the treatment for diarrhea?
In most cases, treatment is to give the child adequate amounts of fluids, depending on the severity of the symptoms. Recently, doctors have changed their course of treatment with regard to mild cases of diarrhea and usually do not provide anychange in the child's diet. For moderate diarrhea, special liquids called oral rehydration solutions are used. Never give water alone to a child who is vomiting or has diarrhoea. The body needs a certain amount (well dosed) of s alt and sugar, which are not found in sufficient quantities in water or in juices and soft drinks diluted with water. Only “oral rehydration solutions” like Pedialyte contain the right amount of sugar and s alt. You can usually continue to give milk, as long as it does not make the diarrhea worse. The same goes for breastfeeding. If the child is hungry, let him eat. Antidiarrheals should not be given to children.
What about vomiting?
If the child has just vomited, parents should wait half an hour before starting to give fluids, starting with a tablespoon. If the child is retaining fluids, give 1.5 tablespoons five minutes later and so on, gradually increasing the amount each time. If the child vomits again, allow about 30 minutes to pass and start the cycle over from the beginning. If unable to retain fluids, seek medical attention. Fortunately, most children will be able to retain enough fluids. Vomiting and other symptoms associated with "gastroenteritis" will resolve on their own. If a vomiting child is feverish andunable to hold back the fever medication, acetaminophen in suppository form is a very convenient solution.
The signs of dehydration are as follows:
- less frequent urination (less than six wet diapers per day in the baby);
- tears without tears;
- dry or mushy mouth;
- weight loss;
- unquenchable thirst.
Take your child to the doctor immediately:
- if he shows signs of dehydration;
- if less than six months old;
- if there is blood in his stool;
- if he vomits often and his vomiting prevents him from drinking;
- if the diarrhea lasts more than a week;
- if he complains of abdominal pain, seems unwell or has a fever.
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