Diarrhea In Children – Diarrhea is a very common problem in children almost all around the globe, however, in countries like Pakistan, the problem is more pronounced due to pollution environments and unhealthy diets. It is defined, when a child passes more than 4-5 watery stools and may get more vibrant if it occurs with vomiting as well. Although it would not be true to call it a disease right from the beginning, because, initially it may be because of various reasons and takes its prevention automatically as the body gets immune to it. However in extreme case, if its prolonged for more than a day, it certainly causes dehydration and in some cases imbalance in children, which later on may prove to be fatal.
It is very important for the parents to know the basics of diarrhea, the reasons of its occurrence and the basic preventive measures as well as the special diets in such circumstances.
- Viral Infection; This is the most common reason of diarrhea especially in winters. The symptoms include headache, fever, vomiting, nausea and watery stools (frequency depends upon the age and eating habits). Normally the fever might range from 100 deg C or above. Its treatment is normally not required, since it had to take certain time which may range from 3-7 days, but supportive measures are very important, since dehydration caused due to it may become more dangerous than imaginations. ORS, fresh juices (recommended by doctor) and light diets are to be taken. In extreme cases, the children are even put on drip to cater for dehydration.
- Bacterial Infection, This is normally due to contaminated foods or water. The stool in such case is bloody or having mucus in it. Otherwise it is difficult to distinguish it from viral infection. Antibiotics are normally prescribed for such type of diarrhea. However, parents with stronger wits can contain it with supportive diets and in most cases it automatically immunes after specified period.
- Food Intolerance, Few children are intolerant to certain types of food, like taking peach or apple may cause diarrhea, but it’s not to be much bothered about it, since automatically after drainage of food through stool, stomach gets fine.
- Parasitic Infection, This is also caused due to contaminated food, and more common in developing countries. It lasts for even 2 weeks and needs to be treated at an earliest.
- Reaction to Medicines, In certain cases, some of the medicines especially antibiotics cause watery stools. In such cases, light diet and supportive medicines are also given. Some children are even reactive to some specified antibiotic, which must be noted by all parents and while visiting doctors, must be consulted.
Visiting Doctors Just to simplify for the parents, if any of the following condition occurs, it is advised that parents should immediately visit the doctors:-
- Bloody stool or having puss or mucus.
- Body Temperature exceeding 100 deg C.
- Dehydration (thirst, white tongue, dark or yellow urine, lesser urination, skin. separation from body).
- If diarrhea has prolonged more than 24 hours.
- Pain in abdomen.
- Child does want to eat of drink anything.
Important Questions before Visiting Doctor, If you intend calling or visiting doctor, following things should remain in your mind:-
- Prep temperature chart for child for last 24 hours. (Start immediately as the problem starts)
- How many stools child has passed and the timings of each stool
- What was the diet you gave before child started passing stools and during the condition.
- Nature of stool is it watery, bloody or varying nature.
- What is the color of eyes of child and level of dehydration in your perception as indicated above
- When did he/she have previous diarrhea, what medicine you gave at that time and what reason was concluded at that time?
- Diarrhea is contiguous and spreads its germs from hand to mouth and from one person to another. Parents should remain very careful about themselves as well as for the other children. Regarding treatment of diarrhea, I shall write in my other article.