A common phenomenon across the globe, diarrhea hits approximately 2 billion people every year. It may range from being a temporary situation to a life-altering one, depending upon the severity. Diarrhea in children leads to the death of about 1.9 million kids every year.
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What Is Diarrhea?
Maximum Diarrhea cases are due to bacteria, viruses, or parasites and it leads to an abnormal or watery stool and that too after regular intervals.
When this continues for four or more than four weeks, it is known as Chronic Diarrhea and needs immediate attention as it can be a life-threatening disease very swiftly.
Symptoms And Causes Of Diarrhea
The symptoms of Diarrhea are very easy to detect but even those are categorized into two parts –
1. Common symptoms –
‣ Cramps and pain in the abdomen
‣ The urgency to use the toilet
2. Serious symptoms –
‣ Blood, or pus in the stool
‣ Pain while passing on the stool
‣ Continuous vomiting
‣ Difficulty in intake of fluids
‣ Less or no urine
‣ Fever (above 100.4 degrees for infants less than 3 months and 102 degrees for infants below the age of 3- 12 months)
Reasons for Acute Diarrhea to Occur –
1. Food poisoning
3. Tropical diseases like cholera or typhoid
4. Anxiety issues or emotional stress
5. Excess consumption of diarrhea
6. Intake of some medications
Diarrhea in kids can be dangerous as small babies are prone to dehydration and even acute diarrhea can be life-threatening.
Acute diarrhea can also be caused due to contaminated food and water due to the infection agents –
‣ Virus – Calici, Adeno, and Rotavirus
‣ Bacteria – E.Coli, Campylobacter, V.Cholera, Shigella, Salmonella
‣ Parasites – Giardia Lamblia, Tapeworm
Reasons for Chronic Diarrhea to occur –
1. Coeliac Diseases – It reduces the intestine’s ability to absorb food.
2. Chronic Constipation – The stool becomes hard and due to that the bowel is blocked.
3. Hormonal Disorder – Overactive thyroid or diabetes.
4. Bowel Cancer
5. Inflammatory Bowel Diseases
6. Lactose Intolerance – The inability to digest any milk-based products.
Diarrhea In Infants, Toddlers, Newborn And Kids
As compared to adults, children are much more prone to diarrhea. The reasons for them to get infected are –
1. Infection – One of the most common thing in children are the viruses. They can get easily prone to various infections leading to serious problems.
2. Laxatives or Antibiotics – Some medications lead to diarrhea as they are not able to digest the dosage properly.
3. Food poisoning – It occurs very easily in kids. They are not able to digest the food properly.
Diarrhea causes dehydration in children and is one of the most dangerous things which occur in moderate or severe diarrhea.
Severe dehydration can lead to –
‣ Brain Damage
Some symptoms of dehydration in kids are –
‣ Light-head or dizziness
‣ Dry or sticky mouth
‣ Dark yellow or no urine
‣ No tears while crying
‣ Cool and dry skin
‣ No energy
Diarrhea in infants – If you are noticing watery poop in the diapers, it is time to be alert and get into action to soothe your baby’s bum. In the first few months, the stool of a baby is soft but if it is diarrhea, it will be pretty evident. It will be more of a watery content and the occurrence will be frequent. Also, they stop you from feeding them as they are no more into food and may also suffer from fever.
Apart from the usual virus, parasites, and antibiotics issue, diarrhea may also occur due to milk allergy.
3% of the infants are allergic to dairy products. The babies who are breastfed can develop milk allergies from the ones their mothers are consuming. They may start vomiting and apart from diarrhea, chances are that they may have hives. There is a special formula for kids suffering from the milk allergy.
How To Care For Children Suffering From Diarrhea
In Infants –
Most of the times, diarrhea is a way of getting rid of germs in the body so it is advisable that the illness should be given time to heal itself. Giving antidiarrheal medicines to an infant can be dangerous.
The best option is to –
‣ Provide infant with a lot of fluids to reduce the dehydration from the body.
‣ Give them healthy food like chicken, oatmeal, and bread. Feeding them Banana, and Rice may not help.
‣ Take care of your little one's bum! Continuously wiping them can cause irritation and rashes. It is advisable to change the baby’s diaper on a continuous basis and keep it dry to avoid infections.
In toddlers –
There are some food and liquid items preferred to be given to the toddlers which can work in order to get rid of diarrhea in a timely manner.
‣ Food containing a higher level of starch is appreciated as they are easy to be digested during diarrhea.
‣ Extra water should be given and all kinds of juice and soft drinks should be avoided.
‣ Food which causes loose stool should be avoided, like beans.
‣ Yogurt is a good option for toddlers as it is the easiest source of probiotics.
Some things to be kept in mind –
‣ Diarrhea is contagious and thus, after using the toilet or changing your kid’s diaper, always wash your hands with soap.
‣ To trap some of the watery stool, put a washcloth inside the kid’s diaper or cover it with plastic pants.
‣ Give your kid a bath under the bathtub.
It is recommended to call your pediatrician if the kid –
‣ Seems very sick.
‣ Has diarrhea for more than 3 days.
‣ In not more than 6 months old.
‣ Vomiting and the color is coming out to be bloody green or yellow.
‣ Looks dehydrated.
‣ Has been suffering from stomach pain for more than 2 hours.
‣ Has not urinated since the last 6 hours.
A problem like diarrhea may sound simple but can lead to horrific results. Thus, it is always better to have knowledge so that you can safeguard your precious kids from it.