Diarrhea is one of the most common diseases that affect young kids. Diarrhea results in fever, dehydration, weakness in the child and may require hospitalization in some cases as it can be life threatening.
Types of Diarrhea:
Diarrhea can be classified as:
Viral – Viral diarrhea is more common in early childhood (0-6 months). Please note that passing 5-6 motions (solid/semi-solid) daily is considered fine in children aged between 0-6 months. If the number of motions are more, or watery in nature, it is diarrhea
Bacterial and Parasitic Diarrhea – More common in 6 months plus kids. It can be watery diarrhea associated with vomiting. If the infection is severe child may have loose motions with blood and mucus which can lead to complications.
Causes of Diarrhea:
Viral diarrhea is caused due to a virus named rotavirus. To prevent it, the child should be administered Rotavirus vaccination (given between 1.5-3.5 months)
Exclusive breast feeding is also highly recommended between 0-6 months so that child is not exposed to outside food/liquids that may be contaminated.
Bacterial and Parasitic diarrhea is caused due to following reasons:
- Contaminated water
- Improper sterilization of bottles
- Vegetables / fruits served if not washed properly
- Unhygienic surroundings
Signs of acute diarrhea and action to be taken:
Dehydration – The child becomes thirstier, and needs to be given oral fluids – ORS, sugar and salt water, juices, rice kanji, ragi poridges
Sunken eyes, restlessness, child developing fever – If such symptoms are noted, please visit the doctor and take appropriate medication.
While viral diarrhea is self-limited and gets cured after sometime, bacterial diarrhea takes more time to cure as the intestines are infected.
If there is dehydration and child is sick, s/he may require hospitalization
Preventive measures to be undertaken
Diarrhea can be prevented by ensuring good drinking water source, using boiled water for drinking, proper sterilization of bottle. Maintaining proper hygiene will ensure cleaner surrounding and less chances of contamination of food/fruits/vegetables. Also, ensure your child washes hands regularly and maintains good personal hygiene.
Exclusive breast feeding is highly recommended between the 0-6 months as it can be cost effective and healthy for the child.
Vaccination to be administered to prevent diarrhea
Now a days, vaccines are available which can be used to control diarrhea caused by rotavirus. Please consult your pediatrician for administering the vaccination