Every mother in every part of the world is far too familiar with this dialogue. After all, kids are more prone to diarrhoea (and other stomach infections) than adults, because their immune systems aren’t fully developed. This is a huge concern for mothers.
One of the most common health complaints, diarrhoea can range from a mild, temporary condition, to a potentially life-threatening one.
Globally, 2bn diarrhoeal diseases occur each year 1.9mn children under the age of 5 years die from diarrhoea
Diarrhoea is caused due to digestive disorder in the gut and is characterized by passing abnormally loose or watery stools 3 or more times a day, with a significant increase in the amount of stool and their liquid consistency. Acute diarrhoea is diarrhoea that lasts a short time. It usually lasts about 1 or 2 days (a little longer, in some cases) and then goes away on its own. Diarrhoea lasting longer than a few days may be a symptom of a more serious problem that brings with it the risk of dehydration. Chronic diarrhoea – Diarrhoea that lasts at least 4 weeks – can be a symptom of a chronic disease. Consult your doctor in that case or if you notice high fever or blood in the stool.
While the main symptom of diarrhoea is loose, watery stools 3 or more times a day, it can be detected by these accompanying symptoms as well:
Broadly, kids are affected by:
1. Viral diarrhoea
Sources of contamination are easy and plenty in public places like nurseries or creches, so kids can get infections easily. Usually viruses (like Norovirus, Adenovirus and others) are the main causes of acute diarrhoea and therefore of infantile gastroenteritis, but sometimes important bacteria are also involved (E. Coli, Salmonella). Rotavirus, on the other hand, is the most common cause for red or bloody diarrhoea and its symptoms are similar to other watery diarrhoea.
2. Diarrhoea due to antibiotics
Antibiotics are used to treat bacterial diarrhoea. However, kids may react to certain antibiotics causing diarrhoea in kids and is reported in up to 20-25%* of cases. It may either lead to hospitalization or a sudden discontinuation of the antibiotic. In such a scenario, speak to your doctor about discontinuation or replacement of the said antibiotic.
Normally, the gut flora works as a defense against harmful bacteria or viruses that can cause infections. Sometimes, these infections can present themselves as bacterial or viral diarrhoea.
Intolerances to lactose or artificial sweeteners, or poorly prepared food, can result in diarrhoea.
Reactions to drugs
Antibiotics - like antacids that contain magnesium - alter the balance of the gut flora. Such antibiotics can cause diarrhoea.
Change in weather, diet or even places are known to have an impact on our digestive system/ body. Sometimes, this leads to travelers’ diarrhoea. When we travel, we barely think to give our body the time to adjust to this change, or even prepare for it. Our gut flora loses its natural balance as a result and the consequence is diarrhoea. It’s important to think about your kids in this regard whenever you make travel plans because changes in food, water or uncertain hygiene conditions can make your kid susceptible to tummy aches, stomach infections/ travelers’ diarrhoea.
There is a close link between weather conditions and physiological processes. Whenever our body is faced with variations in temperature, pressure or light, it needs to get used to that change. It is possible that this season change weakens your child’s immune system and makes him more vulnerable.
Gastrointestinal dysfunctions such as gastritis, colitis, pain, swelling and travelers’ diarrhoea have a lot to do with our regular diet. The right food helps control the good functioning of the gut flora. It’s best to have your kids habituated to take meals at well-defined times as that helps regularity. Also ensure that your child drinks up to 2 litres of water a day to stay well hydrated.
Antibiotic drugs that are very useful in the treatment of many diseases can sometimes have secondary
gastrointestinal effects in children. For this reason, during and after antibiotic treatment, it is
advisable to buffer the negative effects on the good bacterial flora in the child’s gut.
So, bearing all this in mind, a regular intake of probiotic foods helps maintain the balance of good bacteria in your child’s gut.
It cannot be stressed enough how important basic hygiene is. Poor levels of hygiene and sanitation are an open invitation for several infections and diseases, and diarrhoea is one of them. However, with good practices very regularly early on, you can reduce episodes or chances of travelers’ diarrhoea.
Hand washing is one of the most effective ways of preventing the spread of viruses and bacteria that can cause diarrhoea. You should wash your hands properly before and after meals, after using the toilet and after changing nappies.
Now some of this you may already know but it doesn’t hurt to reassert!
In case your child has diarrhoea, we recommended Enterogermina®, a pediatrician's No.1 choice of probiotics for diarrhoea and its symptoms in children.
Enterogermina® effectively manages diarrhoea in children and leaves them with happy, healthy tummies.
Diarrhoea usually lasts 1 or 2 days in children.
If you have watery diarrhoea, you should
Sip on clear, still liquids such as fruit juice without added sugar.
Consume high-potassium foods and liquids, such as diluted fruit juices, potatoes without the skin, and bananas.
Consume high-sodium foods and liquids, such as broths, soups, sports drinks, and salted crackers.
Eat foods high in soluble fiber, such as banana, oatmeal and rice, as these help thicken the stool
Limit foods that may make diarrhoea worse, such as creamy, fried, and sugary foods
Bloody diarrhoea may be a sign of a medical emergency, so a person should see a doctor as soon as possible.
You should take your child to the doctor for diarrhoea when you notice any of the following symptoms:
Diarrhoea lasting more than 2 days
Signs of dehydration
A fever of 102° or higher
Stools contain blood or pus
Stools that are black or tar-like
SAIN.BCL.20.05.0886 May 2020, India