As a parent, there are some things more distressing than seeing your child suffer from diarrhoea. Not only can it be uncomfortable and painful for your little one, but it can also lead to dehydration and other serious complications if left untreated. However, managing diarrhoea in children can be a challenge, especially if you’re unsure of what to do.
That’s why we present this comprehensive guide to help parents understand what causes diarrhoea in children, how to manage it, and when to get professional help. Whether you’re a new parent or have been through this before, this essential information will help you feel confident in your ability to care for your child and ensure their speedy recovery. So, let’s get started!
Diarrhoea in children can be caused by many factors, including viruses, bacteria, parasites, medications, and certain medical conditions. The most common causes of diarrhoea in children include viral gastroenteritis, also known as stomach flu. This type of diarrhoea is usually mild and resolves on its own after some days. Other common causes of diarrhoea in children include bacterial infections such as Salmonella, E. coli, and Shigella, as well as parasites such as Giardia.
Certain medications can also cause diarrhoea in children. Antibiotics, for example, can disrupt the natural balance of bacteria in the gut and cause diarrhoea. Medications used to treat conditions such as asthma, allergies, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) can also cause diarrhoea in some children.
In some cases, diarrhoea in children can be a symptom of an underlying medical condition. Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), celiac disease, and lactose intolerance are examples of medical conditions that can cause chronic diarrhoea in children.
Diarrhoea in children is characterised by loose, watery stools that occur more frequently than normal. Other common symptoms of diarrhoea include abdominal pain, cramping, bloating, and nausea. Children may also experience fever, vomiting, and dehydration, which can lead to fatigue, dry mouth, and decreased urine output.
In severe cases, diarrhoea can lead to dehydration, which can be considered a serious condition that needs immediate medical care. Symptoms of dehydration in children include dry mouth, sunken eyes, lethargy, and decreased urine output. If you notice any of these symptoms in your child, it is important to seek medical attention right away.
The doctor will inquire about your child’s symptoms and medical background. Your child will have a physical examination from them. Blood and urine tests at the lab may be administered to your child.
The impact of diarrhoea on children’s health and immunity can be significant, as it can cause dehydration, malnutrition, and other serious health issues. When children have diarrhoea, they lose a significant amount of fluid and electrolytes, which can lead to dehydration. Dehydration can cause fatigue, dry mouth, dizziness, and, in severe cases, can lead to organ failure and even death.
In addition to dehydration, diarrhoea can also lead to malnutrition. When a child has diarrhoea, they often lose essential nutrients that are necessary for their growth and development. This can result in stunted growth, delayed cognitive development, and increased susceptibility to other illnesses.
Moreover, diarrhoea can also weaken a child’s immune system. When a child’s body is fighting an infection that causes diarrhoea, it can divert resources away from the immune system, making the child more susceptible to other infections. Additionally, the loss of nutrients and dehydration can further weaken the immune system, leaving the child more vulnerable to infections.
To minimise the impact of diarrhoea on children’s health and immunity, it is crucial to ensure that they are adequately hydrated and receive proper nutrition. In extreme cases, medical attention may be necessary to address dehydration and prevent further health complications.