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The symptoms and care of gastro intestinal infection

The symptoms and care of gastro intestinal infection

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The most prominent symptoms of gastro-intestinal infection in your child are vomiting and diarrhea. If this is accompanied by stomach ache, the condition is called gastro-enteritis. Gastro-enteritis is a food borne illness. Contaminated water and food are the main carriers of this disease. The two viruses, Norovirus and rotavirus are the prime causes of gastroenteritis. However, some bacteria like Salmonella, E.coli and Staphylococcus can also cause gastro-enteritis.

Thursday, March 9th, 2017

Poor feeding habit is the main cause for gastro-enteritis in infants.

Improperly cooked food gets contaminated easily with these organisms and increases the chances of diarrhea in your child. Re-heated meat dishes, dairy products, seafood and bakery products also get contaminated easily. Stale food and contaminated water are the two major sources of diarrhea infection. Being a mother, you need to keep a strict vigilance on the quality of your child’s food and water to prevent your child from gastro-intestinal infection.

Know the symptoms.

Change in Stool: Viral diarrhea usually causes frequent watery stools, whereas blood stained diarrhea may indicate bacterial infection.

Vomiting: In some cases, when the stomach is empty, bile can be vomited out.

Change in Behavior: A baby with gastroenteritis may be lethargic, restless while sleeping, have mild fever, show signs of dehydration, tachycardia, discoloration of skin, sunken fontanel, sunken eyeballs and darkened eye circles.

Dehydration: Dehydration is a major outcome of persistent diarrhea or vomiting. If your child becomes dehydrated she may not pass enough urine, lose her appetite and have cold hands and feet.

What immediate care needs to be taken?

There is a huge loss of body fluids and electrolytes in gastro-enteritis, because of dehydration. So the main objective of treatment is to control dehydration by restoring fluid and electrolyte balance. Oral rehydration therapy is the most preferred and recommended way to control dehydration.

How to cure gastro-enteritis disorders clinically?

Acute diarrhea needs clinical attention.

Oral Rehydration Therapy: There have been two recent advances in managing diarrheal disease. The newly formulated oral rehydration salts (ORS) containing lower concentrations of glucose and salt, and success in using zinc supplementation has drastically reduced the number of childhood mortality from acute diarrhea.

Fluid and Antibiotics: The new methods, used in addition to prevention and treatment of dehydration with appropriate fluids are: breastfeeding, continued feeding and selective use of antibiotics.

Medical Help: Families and communities play an active role in achieving the goals set for managing the disease. The new recommendations routine practice at home and health facility can ensure better treatment of the disease.

What to do when you know your child has diarrhea?

The role of family and community is eminent in managing diarrhea. If a routine practice is followed, then they can act quickly at the first sign of diarrhea. The goal is to make these recommendations a part of your regular practice at home.

Prevent dehydration: Prevent dehydration through the early administration of increased amounts of fluids like fruit and vegetable juices, coconut water, lassi, nimbu pani etc available at home and ORS solution, if available.

Continue feeding: You should continue feeding or increase breastfeeding your child during diarrhea.

Medical Treatment: Recognize the signs of dehydration and consult your doctor for ORS or intravenous electrolyte solution. You should also familiarize yourself with other symptoms that require medical treatment like, bloody diarrhea.

Post Diarrhea: Follow your doctor’s advice.

Maintain a balanced diet. To prevent subsequent episodes of diarrhea in your child, maintain a balanced diet with plenty of fluids along with care for hygiene and sanitation.

How should you feed your child recovering from Diarrhea?

The main treatment objective is to replenish the fluid and the electrolytes lost by your child.

Food: For infants, breastfeeding should be continued on demand. For older children milk can be given after achieving rehydrated state. You can provide your child with low fiber, easily digestible soft or semi-fluid diet along with butter.

In case of excessive diarrhea, avoid giving milk to your child , Some may have problems digesting lactose during or after a bout of diarrhea. Yogurt, which has less lactose than milk, is often better tolerated. Yogurt with active, live bacterial cultures may even help people recover from diarrhea more quickly (http://digestive.niddk.nih.gov/ddiseases/pubs/diarrhea/).. Banana and curd can be given as curd is better tolerated and banana provides energy to the baby.

Fluids: Include fluids like coconut water, fruit and vegetable juices, weak tea, whey water, buttermilk, , cereal and pulse water in your child’s diet. Plain water should be replaced by ORS solution as much possible. ORS solution helps replenish the electrolyte balance in your child.

Probiotics: Probiotics play an important role in preventing and correcting diarrhea. Probiotic drinks can be given to children once they are rehydrated. Probiotics also help to reduce the frequency of stools, duration and recurrence of diarrhea. Curd naturally is rich in probiotics. Therefore it is advisable to include curd in the diet of your child.

Medical treatment: Your pediatrician may also prescribe some antibiotics so as to make the child’s system free of any infectious organisms.

Keep a strict watch on the food and water of your child as these are the prime sources of gastro-enteritis. Medical assistance is necessary if diarrhea is diagnosed but as an immediate treatment prevent your child from dehydration.

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