Gastro Infections In Your Toddler : Signs, Causes, Cure
Created by Dr.Jayashree Shiwalkar Updated on Oct 23, 2020
Every toddler would have atleast one episode of ‘gastroenteritis in his/her active, everything-goes -in the- mouth stage…and every parent would be familiar with the loosies and tummy ache that come with it!
What Is Gastroenteritis?
Gastroenteritis is the medical term for infection of the gut. It is commonly referred to as ‘stomach flu’ though it is more to do with the infection of the intestines and is not always a influenza (flu) viral infection.
What Causes This Infection ?
A virus is the most common cause of gastroenteritis. It spreads easily via unwashed hands and even contaminated surfaces/toys from other children or adults who are infected. Among viruses, rota virus is common especially in babies and toddlers. Food poisoning from consuming contaminated water or food is usually caused by a bacterial infection. Common examples are E Coli and salmonella. Parasites like giardia can also cause diarrhoea.
What Are The Symptoms Of Gastroenteritis?
The main symptoms are diarrhoea and vomiting. Diarrhoea is loose or watery stools usually at least more than three times in 24 hours. Blood or mucus can appear in the stools with some infections. There may also be crampy stomach pains, fever and body ache.
Most children who have gastroenteritis have mild symptoms which will get better in 4-5 days. Vomiting tends to settle in a couple of days though loose motions often take longer. The important thing is to ensure that the children have plenty to drink during this time as dehydration is the main concern when a child is losing fluids through vomiting or large watery motions.The symptoms of dehydration include - passing less urine, drowsiness, dry lips and tongue, increased thirst. As parents, we should be alert to spot these and seek medical help soon.
How Should You Care For A Child With Gastroenteritis?
Rehydrate-Offer your child fluids (plain water/coconut water) frequently to help rehydrate as quickly as possible. If the motions are very watery and frequent, ORS or oral rehydration solution should be given. It comes in satches and as tetra packs too for children. Avoid fruit drinks and soda containing drinks. Sometimes milk intake may have to be reduced too as there may be a temporary lactose intolerance
Diet-Children may have a poor appetite during this time. It is expected and not a cause of concern – fluid intake remains a a top priority. However, once the child is accepting fluids well and not vomiting, a normal diet may be resumed. Foods that are preferred include banana, rice, yogurt, khichdi etc.
Some children may require fluids through a drip if the dehydration is significant.Probiotics are often prescribed to normalise the bacterial flora in the gut but antibiotics are not needed for the more common viral gastroenteritis.
Preventing Spread Of Infection To Others
One should be especially careful to wash hands after using the washroom, changing diapers, after playing with pets and before preparing food or eating.
The simple measure of washing hands regularly and properly (and not just using a hand sanitiser) is known to make a big difference to the chances of developing gastroenteritis. Children should ideally stay off day-care/nursery until at least 48 hours after the last episode of diarrhoea.
Did you like this blog on gastro-infections in babies useful? Please do share your thoughts with us in the comments section below; we’d love to hear from you.
| Aug 18, 2020
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