by The Welthi Bureau, July 13th, 2021
Gastroenteritis is infection of the gut and one of the common infections of childhood. All children by 5 years of age would have had more than one episode of gastroenteritis. The severity can range from a mild tummy upset for a day or two with some mild diarrhoea, to severe diarrhoea and vomiting for several days or longer. It is caused by viruses, bacteria and parasitic infestations. Viral infection is most the common cause. The infection is spread by close contact with infected person or contamination of food and water.
Diarrhea which is a protective mechanism to clear Gastrointestinal toxins is one of the main symptoms. Blood or mucus can appear in the stools with some infections. A high temperature (fever), headache and aching limbs sometimes occur says DR. VINOD W CHAHARE, DNB Consultant Gastroenterologist, Olive Hospitals
Diarrhoea and vomiting will cause dehydration. Symptoms of dehydration in children include: passing little urine, a dry mouth, a dry tongue and lips, fewer tears when crying, sunken eyes, weakness, being irritable or lethargic.
Symptoms of severe dehydration in children include: drowsiness, pale or mottled skin, cold hands or feet, passing very less urine or not at all, fast (but often shallow) breathing. Severe dehydration is medical emergency and can be fatal unless quickly treated because the organs of the body need a certain amount of fluid to function normally.
HIGH RISK CASES
When to seek medical help
Most children who have gastroenteritis have mild symptoms which will get better in a few days. The important thing is to ensure that they should take good amount of ORS. You should seek medical advice in the following situations (or if there are any other symptoms that you are concerned about):
Symptoms of gastroenteritis often settle within a few days or so as a child's immune system is usually able to clear the infection. Children can usually be treated at home. Occasionally, admission to hospital is needed if symptoms are severe, or if complications develop.
Encourage the child to take ORS. Prefer normal diet, avoid fruit juices or fizzy drinks. Breast-feeds or bottle-feeds should be encouraged as normal.
You should not give medicines to stop diarrhoea to children under 12 years old.
Lactose products should only be stopped on doctor’s advice.
Haemolytic uraemic syndrome is a rare complication. It is usually associated with gastroenteritis caused by a certain bacterial infection (E. coli O157). It is a serious condition where there is anaemia, a low platelet count in the blood and kidney failure. If recognised and treated, most children recover well
Persistent diarrhoea and Malnutrition may rarely follow some gut infections. These are mainly seen in high-risk children.
Wash your hands regularly with soap. Dry your hands properly after washing.
Regularly clean the toilets used, with disinfectant. Also, clean the flush handle, toilet seat, sink taps, bathroom surfaces and door handles at least daily with hot water and detergent. Make sure your child washes their hands after going to the toilet. Don't let your child share towels and flannels. They should stay off school, nursery, etc, until at least 48 hours after the last episode of diarrhoea or vomiting.
Proper storage, preparation and cooking of food, and good hygiene help to prevent gastroenteritis. Breast-feeding is also protective. Breast-fed babies are much less likely to develop gastroenteritis compared to bottle-fed babies.
Rotavirus is the most common cause of gastroenteritis in children. There is an effective vaccine against rotavirus. The Indian Academy of Paediatrics (IAP) recommends vaccinating babies against rotavirus along with their other routine vaccinations. It is given at 6, 10 and 14 weeks of age.
Book Appointment: DR. VINOD W CHAHARE, DNB Consultant Gastroenterologist, Olive Hospitals
Don't wait and watch, go get a jab done
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