Diarrhea is a repeated bowel movement with characteristic feces which is loose and watery. anyone can have diarrhea yet children are very much susceptible mainly due to the food and drinks that they consume which may be contaminated or spoiled.
Diarrhea occurs when there is a Gastrointestinal Infections (GI) that are caused by pathogenic microorganisms. usually, the culprits are the bacteria, viruses or parasites. too much consumption of high-sugar beverage could also trigger diarrhea.
Diarrhea can also be caused by trouble in digesting certain things, an immune system response to certain foods (food allergy), reaction to medicines, an intestinal disease like inflammatory bowel disease, a problem with how stomach and bowel work such as irritable bowel syndrome or surgery on the stomach or gallbladder.
Viral gastroenteritis, also called stomach flu, is a common cause of diarrhea often resulting to nausea and vomiting. Since it is a virus, it is infectious which can spread through the school, household or child care centers, the symptoms last for just a few days. Kids who can’t get enough fluids can become dehydrated.
One kind of this type is rotavirus infection. It is characterized by explosive watery diarrhea. This type is common during winter and early spring months. Rotavirus vaccine is available for infants. Enterovirus such as coxsackievirus can also cause diarrhea in kids during summer months.
Common villain that cause diarrhea in this category are E. coli, Shigella, Campylobacter, Giardia and Cryptosporidium parasites.
Acute diarrhea is usually caused of viruses, bacteria or parasites. This type is common in children attending daycare and this is usually caused by a virus. Some cases of diarrhea caused by infection are mild which goes away on its own. It is still crucial to prevent dehydration from happening which is excessive loss of bodily fluids due to diarrheal stools.
Chronic diarrhea is due to a disease that causes inflammation of the bowel and/or malabsorption of nutrients. Here are the common causes of chronic diarrhea:
Catching infectious causes of diarrhea have the following risk factors: traveling to foreign countries, attending to child care, swimming in lakes and ponds, fostering home and school, and contacting with sick people at home. Celiac disease and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) were found to be associated with heredity. First-degree relatives are at greater risk of the disease.
Kids may experience stomach cramps or abdominal pain that lasts a day or abdominal pain that lasts a few days. Kids with viral gastroenteritis often show symptoms such as fever and vomiting then followed by diarrhea.
Diarrhea may be watery or contain blood. Stool may float which may indicate that there is increased fat present in the stool. Diarrhea may also be accompanied by:
Dehydration happens when someone is not able to take in sufficient fluid orally to meet the daily fluid requirement. This is to compensate for the losses in diarrheal stools. When this happens, individuals with diarrhea are at risk for dehydration. Signs of dehydration include:
The doctor can tell if someone is dehydrated and how severely they are dehydrated by examining them. Parents can monitor children for signs of dehydration.
the goal when treating diarrhea is to replace the fluids and electrolytes that were depleted during bowel discharge. Doctors recommend:
Oral rehydration solutions are the best way to rehydrate a child who is able to drink and is not vomiting. Children with mild dehydration can be treated outside of the hospital with special oral rehydration solutions (ORS) that can be purchased at the pharmacy or grocery store.
Patients with more severe diarrhea, vomiting and dehydration may require intravenous fluids (fluids given through a vein in the arm) in the hospital. Although other drinks such as juices, colas, and sports drinks are frequently used, they are not a good substitute for ORS, and can actually worsen diarrhea.
Medications that slow down bowel movements are not recommended in children with acute diarrhea although they may occasionally play a role in children with chronic diarrhea. Antibiotics may be prescribed for children with specific bacterial or parasitic illnesses but in most cases, antibiotics do not change how long diarrhea lasts or its severity.
Probiotics (commercially manufactured tablets or capsules that contain “good bacteria”) may be useful in decreasing the severity of symptoms in the presence of an imbalance of good and bad bacteria in the intestines.
In a child who is otherwise healthy, it is very essential to start feeding them their regular diet as soon as possible. Breastfed infants should be nursed normally during episodes of acute gastroenteritis. Formula-fed infants can continue their regular diet and older children should be reintroduced to their regular diet as soon as possible. Older children may avoid dairy initially and try a bland diet consisting of bananas, applesauce, rice, and toast.
Careful hand washing should be practiced by all family members. Especially teach children how to properly wash their hands before eating or before and after certain activities.
Kids may prevent catching diarrhea yet it’s impossible that they may never catch it again. That’s why there are actions that can be done to make it less likely.
Food poisoning can also cause diarrhea in kids. Symptoms may last within 24 hours such as vomiting. Treatment for food poisoning bacteria can be treated the same with treating a diarrheal infection.
Over-the-counter (OTC) antidiarrheal medicines are also available:
Diarrhea can’t be helped. If it leads to complications such as the following, it will be most important to call the doctor if your child:
Jennifer Moran is the author and the social media manager at The Berkey. She has been working and passionate about writing for over four years. When she isn’t glued to a laptop screen, she spends time playing tennis, practicing yoga, and trying very hard not to sleep in the meditation. You can reach her at jennifer (at) the berkey (dot) com.
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