Tuesday, 12 August 2008

Diarrhoea, causes and treatments

Cleaning your child and the floor when your child has diarrhoea is unpleasant, even the most motherly woman has to admit that there are many things they would rather be doing, we have all had that nappy where its easier to put them in the shower than try to clean them, the unfortunate fact is that diarrhoea is relatively common in young children. Thankfully, it usually passes naturally after a day or two, however if your child is under 3 months it is best to see your G.P. as they can dehydrate very quickly. Always remember that if you are worried or the problem is severe or carries on more than a couple of days always seek medical advice.

There are many possible causes of diarrhoea, including food poisoning, but the most common in children is a viral infection, such as gastroenteritis. In some toddlers with chronic diarrhoea it turns out to be as simple as they are drinking too much fruit juice. Like vomiting, diarrhoea can accompany many infections, both bacterial and viral. Other causes of chronic diarrhoea include Giardia, coeliac disease, apendicitus and other less common conditions. Sadly in many toddlers, no cause for the diarrhoea can be found and most grow out of it as they get older.

Where your child is suffering from a mild case of diarrhoea the most important thing to remember is that your child has enough to drink. Your doctor or pharmacist may prescribe or suggest an oral preparation that can be used to rehydrate your child but always follow the instructions carefully. If you have a young baby who is breast or bottle fed, you should continue to feed but offer extra fluid between feeds. For older children food can generally be given after one to two days, especially if your child is hungry. It is generally best to start with bland foods such as plain biscuits, bread, rice, potato or jelly.

Our favourite was to have boiled lemonade (sound vile but it not), it was almost worth being ill to get it, I suppose the theory behind it was that when you boiled it you took out all the fizz so you were left with a sweet easily digestible liquid that would help to rehydrate you and you would get some energy from the sugar. Not sure how it would go down today probably moan about the sugar rotting their teeth or something similar but I can remember it was enjoyed three generation of our family.