What are the causes, symptoms and treatment of diarrhea in children?
Diarrhea (Normal daily routine of liquid or semi-liquid stool) Defecation Will happen more often) In children This is a fairly common problem and correctly Treatment If left untreated, they can be potentially dangerous to their health. 3 years old At least once for almost all children under the age of one Diarrhea Is assumed to have passed.
Causes of diarrhea in children
Let’s look at the most common causes of diarrhea in children below.
Viral or bacterial infections
Viral infections One of the most common causes of diarrhea in children. There are numerous viruses that can cause diarrhea, but the most important is rotavirus, which is responsible for a number of serious types of enteritis.
Bacterial diarrhea, on the other hand, although much more difficult and more difficult to treat, is much less common. Commonly involved bacteria are Salmonella, Campylobacter, Shigella and Escherichia coli.
It is not easy to differentiate between a bacterial form that requires specific treatment from a viral form whose only treatment is to avoid dehydration; However, bacterial forms are usually characterized by systemic symptoms such as fever, general malaise, and the presence of blood in the stool.
Changes in the intestinal ecosystem lead to diarrhea from antibiotics: Many antibiotics alter the balance of intestinal flora, increasing the risk of increasing the toxin-producing bacteria that cause diarrhea. For example, Clostridium difficile has diarrhea, which is rare for a child but potentially severe.
They cause diarrhea, especially in newborns and infants who may be allergic to cow’s milk protein or other foods (eggs, nuts, wheat …).
It occurs after eating or drinking food contaminated by bacteria, viruses, parasites or harmful chemicals.
Diarrhea in children: what to eat?
“My baby has diarrhea, can I feed him now?” In the case of diarrhea in children, the most important factor for treatment is nutrition. In this case, the password is “hydration”, there is no more important remedy than this: in fact, the child must get back the lost fluid and mineral salts from the stool.
If the baby is breastfed, it will be very important to continue breastfeeding, often responding to his frequent requests, so feed him more often than usual, precisely because he feels more thirsty. Also, breast milk has an important immunological function and it helps in eliminating pathogens.
If the baby adopts an artificial formula instead of breast milk, the diet should not be changed: it is better to continue the normal diet without diluting the milk, under the misconception that this way the baby will be better hydrated. This system can offer a small calorie margin at a time when the younger one wants more than usual).
If we are in the period of complementary feeding, what should we give to children with diarrhea? There is no reason to change normal eating habits. Indeed, scientific studies have shown that maintaining a generous diet helps children recover faster; So the famous “empty” diet is not only beneficial, but also reversible, because it limits calorie intake and prolongs diarrhea. However, it is important to always remember that if the child does not want to eat, he does not need to insist: it is important to pay attention to hydration and offer the smallest but most frequent meals.
What about milk?
As mentioned earlier, a change of diet would not be appropriate for a child under one year of age who is still receiving breast milk or formula.
On the other hand, in such cases, the child will especially benefit by reducing the intake of fresh dairy products and milk, as there is an enzymatic deficiency in intestinal inflammation which leads to inhibition of lactose digestion, which in turn increases.
However, if the only way to rehydrate a young baby is to give a small amount of milk, it is necessary to consult with a pediatrician for a few days in case of enteritis.
What is the solution for diarrhea?
Is there any cure for diarrhea in children? First, it should be remembered that we are talking about a defense system in our organism: diarrhea actually works to eliminate the germs or toxins that cause inflammation of the intestinal mucosa. For this reason, it is important not to stop diarrhea in children with medication. Moreover, acute diarrhea is a self-limiting pathology, i.e., a disease with a mild and benign course that tends to resolve spontaneously. Therefore, if you maintain good nutrition and good hydration, there will be nothing to fear and you can patiently wait for natural forgiveness.
When to worry about diarrhea in children?
How long does diarrhea last in children? Usually the duration of this disease For a few days Or less than two weeks in any case.
Properly covered, it will withstand a great deal of adverse conditions, even with diarrhea. However, it is best to avoid dehydration and look for the following symptoms:
- The skin looks dry, loses its natural elasticity and can be folded;
- The mucous membranes dry out with dry tongue and chapped lips;
- The bladder is compressed, that is, the little one urinates very little and is very concentrated;
- The baby is not very active, lacks energy, sometimes even looks sleepy;
- Breathing is fast and shallow.
Even if some of these symptoms are present, it is advisable to examine the child immediately.
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Prevention of diarrhea in children
Prevention of diarrhea in children goes through general sanitation rules. In fact, the most common cause of diarrhea is contagious, so children should be taught to wash their hands frequently, especially before meals or after using the bathroom.
Especially fruits and vegetables should be washed carefully. Meat should always be cooked properly. It is also important to always check the quality of the food very carefully before eating it.
In the first 24 weeks of life it should be specifically mentioned about the currently highly recommended anti-rotavirus vaccine. This safe and effective practice of vaccination has greatly contributed to the reduction of the incidence of rotavirus diarrhea in the child population.
In conclusion, diarrhea is a common symptom as much as it is annoying, but if properly recognized and managed, it will not cause parents anxiety or unwanted discomfort to the child.