Gastrointestinal Diseases
Diarrhea in Children
 

​What is diarrhea? 

Diarrhea is loose, watery stools (bowel movements). You have diarrhea if you have loose stools three or more times in one day. 
الإسهال عند الأطفال - 1

Symptoms:
  • A change in the consistency of stool (becomes loose or watery)
  • An urgent need to use the bathroom
  • Fever (in some cases) 
  • Loss of appetite 
  • Nausea 
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Blood in the stool

When to see a doctor? 
  • When an infant under six months of age has diarrhea;
  • When stool changes to black or becomes bloody;
  • With repeated vomiting;
  • With a fever above 38 °C;
  • If symptoms of dehydration appear (lack of urination, lack of tears during crying, dry skin, mouth and tongue, and a headache, etc.);
  • If you notice sunken eyes and the skin color turning gray.

What causes diarrhea in children?
Some types of antibiotics, allergy to certain foods, some viruses such as rotavirus, hepatitis A, or some types of bacteria, such E. Coli bacteria. Other types of bacteria and parasites can also cause diarrhea in children. These germs are easily spread from one person to another, especially among children.

Prevention:
  • Teach your child to wash his hands well with soap and water, especially after using the toilet and before eating.
  • Help your child make it a habit to wash fruits and vegetables before eating them.
  • Avoid giving your child exposed food or meals that were prepared outside home.
  • Make sure your child receives proper vaccinations (e.g. viral hepatitis and rotavirus vaccines) when traveling to endemic areas or if you notice that your child repeatedly gets diarrhea throughout the year.

Treatment:
In mild and moderate cases of diarrhea, the child can be treated at home without having to go to the hospital. 
You can do this by following the tips below:
  • Give the child liquids to prevent dehydration (e.g. a rehydration solution or apple juice diluted with water).
  • Keep the child away from milk, a diet high in fiber, sugars, or fatty foods. These can worsen the condition.
  • In cases of breastfed infants, mothers should continue to breastfeed their babies even during diarrheal episodes. As for infants who take baby formula, they should be given a lactose-free formula instead of a normal one. 
  • Babies who rely on both food and breast milk should be first given liquids, such as apple juice and other juices for 24 hours. Then they should be given snacks such as bananas, boiled apples, potatoes, boiled rice or jelly. 
  • Children or newborns with severe diarrhea or fever must be taken to the hospital in order to be given liquids intravenously.



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