Abdominal pain, fever, and profuse diarrhea are often the characteristic symptoms of gastroenteritis in children. What is gastroenteritis? In most cases, it is a disease caused by inflammation of the stomach and small intestine caused by rotavirus, a virus that infects almost all children before the age of five.
Due to the inflammation and irritation of the entire digestive tract, it is essential to monitor and make changes in the diet of the child with gastroenteritis to promote an improvement in the stomach upset and to help the digestive system assimilate food more efficiently. The discomfort of this disease can be similar to that of other conditions; that is why it is essential to identify the symptoms of gastroenteritis in children. For this, we invite you to continue reading this article by FastlyHeal.
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Primary symptoms of gastroenteritis in children
Childhood gastroenteritis is a disease that causes a very annoying discomfort that puts the child in a significant state of weakness and dehydration due to its symptoms:
- Watery diarrhea.
- Severe abdominal pain
- Stomach cramps
- Pale skin.
- Baggy eyes.
- Loss of appetite
Gastroenteritis is a highly contagious disease, and the period in which the risk of contagion increases the greatest is during the manifestation of its symptoms. For this reason, it is essential that if your child has gastroenteritis, you use a mask to cover your mouth and wash your hands frequently to avoid contracting this disease, and you can continue to take care of the little one. Avoiding drinking drinks in the same glass or using the same plates and cutlery as a person with gastroenteritis is also necessary to prevent transmission.
Causes of infantile gastroenteritis
As we mentioned earlier, the leading cause of gastroenteritis in children is the spread of the rotavirus virus that commonly affects children under five years of age who have not been vaccinated. However, there are also other viruses, bacteria, and microorganisms that can trigger gastroenteritis in children; let’s know what they are:
- Viruses such as adenovirus, astrovirus, and calicivirus.
- Some bacteria found mainly in undercooked foods can cause gastroenteritis in children. These are salmonella, campylobacter, shigella, Aeromonas, and yersinia. The spread of gastroenteritis by these microorganisms is more frequent in children who live in developing countries.
- The giardia lamblia parasite can also cause gastroenteritis.
- Any intestinal tract infection can be the cause of acute episodes of diarrhea.
- Children who are intolerant to certain food compounds, such as lactose or gluten often have bouts of gastroenteritis.
- Inflammatory bowel diseases such as Crohn’s disease .
Treatment of infantile gastroenteritis
The treatment of gastroenteritis in children consists of three fundamental steps:
- Gastroenteritis represents a risk of dehydration due to the amount of fluid lost in the stools. Therefore, preventing the child from becoming dehydrated is the main objective that we must keep in mind when treating infantile gastroenteritis. The child must drink at least 3 liters of water a day. It can also be hydrated through the consumption of soups or consommé.
- The child should not be medicated with any medicine that has not been prescribed by the doctor. The only drugs needed without a prescription are those that help lower a fever.
- Food plays a vital role; for example, it is recommended that during the first 24 hours with gastroenteritis, the child does not consume any food other than liquids such as juices, water, or consommé. Sugar should not be consumed either, as it stimulates diarrhea. The best foods to include in the gastroenteritis diet are well-cooked chicken breast, green apple, and white rice.
In the case of babies with gastroenteritis who are being breastfed, it is unnecessary to make any changes in their nutrition; on the contrary, the mother should continue to offer breast milk to the baby during and after the disease is over.
An excellent way to keep the child hydrated is by offering an oral physiological solution. This substance works immediately by replenishing the fluid and the number of electrolytes the child may have lost during bowel movements. Also, the child should only eat palatable foods to avoid nausea. Usually, one of these foods is pasta. It is preferable to prevent foods that meats, fats, fish, dairy products, fruits, and any food with laxative power, such as plums or popcorn.
How to Prevent Childhood Gastroenteritis
Hygiene is the best way to prevent gastroenteritis in children:
- Wash the child’s hands with antibacterial soap several times a day.
- Have a plate, glass, and cutlery for the exclusive use of the child.
- Prevent the child from sharing his food, drinks, or food with other children or people.
- Wash food well.
- Rinse vegetables with vinegar to remove any bacteria or parasites.
- Cook food well to avoid raw meat.
- Avoid eating on the street or in unreliable places.
This article is merely informative, at FastlyHeal .com we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any type of diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor in the case of presenting any type of condition or discomfort.
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I am a Surgeon with a diploma in comprehensive ultrasound and surgical care residency, an area I am specializing in. During the exercise of my profession, I have realized the need for patients to know the diseases they suffer, and I can tell you that a large part of their complications is due to a lack of information. Being a health web writer allows me to transmit my experience, without borders, to all those readers eager for knowledge, educate them in the prevention of diseases and promote a healthy lifestyle.