Diarrhea is a more frequent and watery stool than normal defecation habits. It is usually accompanied by nausea-vomiting and abdominal pain. In fact, this table is the body’s self-defense mechanism. Foreign substances, toxins or microbes entering the digestive tract are removed from the body through vomiting and diarrhea.
The majority of childhood acute diarrhea is due to infections and resolves within 7-14 days. The microbes we call viruses are responsible for 80%. The most common virus detected is rotavirus. This highly contagious virus can cause epidemics among family members or in schools. Transmission is caused by ingestion of infected food or water.
Why is diarrhea important in children? When should we consult a doctor?
Diarrhea is important because of the dehydration it causes. The child loses fluid and electrolytes through defecation. If there is fever, the need for fluid increases. Especially if he cannot take enough fluid due to nausea and vomiting, symptoms related to fluid loss occur.
First, the feeling of thirst becomes evident. The child is active. But if he does not get enough fluid, symptoms such as collapse of the eyeballs, drying of the lips and tongue, decrease in tears and collapse in fontanelle occur. The color of the urine becomes darker and its amount decreases. The child, who is restless at first, gradually becomes sluggish. Before reaching this stage, it is necessary to consult a doctor when it is realized that the child cannot take the lost liquid orally. Again, if the baby is younger than 6 months, accompanied by fever, if there is bloody poop, or if there is no improvement within 24-48 hours, it is necessary to consult a doctor.
The main approach is to prevent dehydration and maintain nutrition.
If she is taking breast milk, she should be breastfed copiously.
If he takes food, there is no need for extra dilution. For diarrhea lasting more than 15 days and in some special cases, special diarrhea formulas can be used upon doctor’s recommendation. In short-term diarrhea, it is sufficient to continue the formula.
Fluids such as water and buttermilk should be given frequently and little by little.
It is important to start the diet with foods such as bread, potatoes, rice, pasta and yoghurt and to switch to normal nutrition as soon as possible.
Since high sugar foods can increase diarrhea, it is necessary to avoid foods with high sugar, high fat or fiber during this period.
The main approach in the treatment of diarrhea is supportive therapy to prevent dehydration. Drugs that will stop diarrhea by affecting bowel movements have no place in treatment.
Probiotics, which can be defined as friendly bacteria, have been shown to be useful in the treatment of diarrhea. The World Health Organization also recommends short-term zinc therapy in developing countries, especially in the young age group.
Nausea medications and antibiotics are not suitable for routine use in the treatment of diarrhea. In special cases caused by some bacteria, antibiotics can be used with doctor’s recommendation.
What is ORS (Oral Rehydration Fluid)?
ORS, which is sold as a powder in pharmacies, can be used to replace fluid lost in diarrhea. However, as the use of excessive or unnecessary ORS in a child without fluid loss may cause excessive salt accumulation in the body, it should be used with the doctor’s recommendation.
The ready-made ORS mixture is prepared by mixing it into 1 liter of drinking water. The part that is not consumed within 24 hours should be poured. Children can easily drink this mixture, even if they cannot take any other liquids. However, it is necessary to take care to give it little by little (1-2 teaspoons every 1-2 minutes). Children who continue to vomit should be admitted to the hospital. After each diarrhea, dehydration caused by diarrhea can be prevented by using-1 tea glass in children aged 6 months-2 years, and ½-1 glass in children older than 2 years of age. Since there may be excessive salt load with ORS in children younger than 6 months, it is necessary to use it carefully with the doctor’s recommendation and to balance it by giving only water in between. While there are various recipes for preparing ORS at home, improper mixtures can do more harm than good to children.
What should be considered in protection?
Hygienic and protective breastfeeding
Implementing hand washing and general hygiene measures
Consumption of foods well washed and well cooked, not waiting in the open
Vaccine against rotavirus, which is the main cause of diarrhea-related hospitalization, has been developed. The vaccine has been shown to reduce the number of defecations, the severity of diarrhea and the need for hospitalization in rotavirus diarrhea.
Specialist Dr. Burcu TOPÇU