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Diarrhea in a child - causes, treatments and dehydration


We talk about diarrhea when a child gives more than three watery stools a day. If we are dealing with an infectious form of diarrhea, mucus or blood may also appear in the feces. Your child may have a fever and complain of stomach ache, lack of appetite and malaise. What are the most common causes of diarrhea in children? What treatment methods can be used in this case? Why is dehydration so dangerous with diarrhea?

Causes of diarrhea in children

Diarrhea in a child it can be acute or chronic. Acute lasts up to 14 days, and if it does not pass after this time, we call it chronic. The most common causes of acute diarrhea are:

- Viral infections - otherwise known as gastric flu or gastroenteritis. This type of diarrhea is most often caused by rotaviruses. Viruses are transmitted by droplets and for the first 2-3 days they give symptoms like a common cold. Then there is acute diarrhea, high fever and vomiting. Muscle and stomach aches, cough and runny nose may also appear.

- Bacterial infections - mainly dysentery and salmonella. Bacteria enter the body together with stale food and cause acute, watery diarrhea accompanied by fever, severe abdominal pain and vomiting. Blood or mucus may also appear in the feces, and the baby gets very weak very quickly.

- Food allergies - diarrhea occurs when a child eats a sensitizing product. It is often accompanied by a rash, nausea, irritability, abnormal weight gain and a tendency to respiratory infections.

- Antibiotic therapy - diarrhea often appears in children during treatment with antibiotics. Antibiotic therapy destroys the intestinal bacterial flora, which can result in loose, watery stools.

- Infectious diseases - diarrhea during infection occurs especially in young children. Watery stools can accompany diseases that go away even from the digestive system - angina, otitis media, pneumonia and upper respiratory tract infections.

However, chronic diarrhea can be caused by parasites (tapeworms, lamblia, and rats), celiac disease, irritable bowel syndrome, cystic fibrosis and inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis). Diarrhea lasting for many weeks can also be caused by excessive consumption of fruit and vegetable juices in children up to 5 years of age (this is called diarrhea of ​​grubs) and hypersensitivity to some nutrients.

How is diarrhea treated in a child?

A child's diarrhea is usually treated at home. You can read about situations when you need to see a doctor as soon as possible at //www.dicoflor.pl/pl/odwodnienie-przy-biegunce/ Sometimes-udac-sie-do-lekarza/. One of the home remedies for diarrhea in children is dried blueberries or dried berry tea. It is enough to throw 2-3 tablespoons of berries into half a liter of water and cook for 10 minutes. Strained infusion should be given to the child 3 times a day one glass. Dried berry tea contains tannins that seal the intestinal mucosa and relieve diarrhea.

During illness, it is also worth taking care of the child's diet. Proper nutrition accelerates the regeneration of the digestive tract and reduces the risk of malnutrition. During diarrhea, easily digestible meals (rice gruel, overcooked rice, grated apple, jelly, grated boiled carrot) are recommended. You should also remember about the large amount of fluid that will prevent dehydration. It is not recommended to give activated charcoal or any remedies for watery stools that are used in adults. During persistent diarrhea, it is worth enriching the child's diet with probiotic preparations that will supplement the sterilized bacterial flora of the large intestine. Home methods don't always work. If your child feels worse, and in addition we suspect that he or she may have become dehydrated, you should see a doctor as soon as possible.

How to recognize dehydration in a child?

Dehydration is a condition in which the body's water content falls below the value necessary for its proper functioning. Visible symptoms of this condition appear when we lose as much water as 3% of our body weight. Dehydration is very dangerous, especially for children and the elderly. During acute diarrhea, it may happen that your child begins to dehydrate. How to recognize this condition?

A child who lacks fluid in the body has dry lips, tongue and oral mucosa, cries without tears, is irritable or listless, has very thick saliva, a bloated stomach, sunken eyes, and sometimes convulsions. The skin during dehydration seems gray, cool and inelastic (slightly pulled does not return to its place immediately), the breath clearly accelerates, and the baby's urine is scanty, very dark or disappears. If we suspect dehydration in an infant, it is worth checking if there is no sunken fontanelle.

To prevent dehydration during diarrhea, give your child fluids as often as possible. We give new portions of water within the first 3-4 hours of diarrhea and after each diarrheal stool. An effective way to moisturize the body and replenish electrolytes in the child's body is to apply special oral rehydration fluids. They contain water, glucose and electrolytes (sodium, chlorine, potassium), which are fully absorbed by the body. Just remember that rehydration fluids can be given to children over 6 months of age.

Attention! The above advice is only a suggestion and cannot replace a visit to a specialist. Remember that in case of health problems, it is imperative to consult a doctor!