Sunday, 19 February 2017

DIARRHOEA: KILLER OF CHILDREN


Diarrhoea is a condition in which one frequently passes loose stools or constantly suffers liquid bowel movements. It is a serious sickness which affects children more than adults and, if not treated, could be fatal. Diarrhoea occurs when fluids cannot be absorbed from the contents of one’s stomach, or when too much fluids enters the bowel. Although, children tend to pass loose stools a lot, it becomes a cause for concern when it is too watery and frequent.

 
Children suffer diarrhoea for a number of reasons:

·         Fever

·         Infection from viruses, bacteria and parasites

·         Medications like antibiotics and laxatives

·         Food poisoning

·         Allergies to certain foods

·         Too much fruits/ juice and fizzy drinks

·         Malnutrition

·         Dehydration

·         Poor hygiene


SYMPTOMS OF DIARRHOEA

Diarrhoea is of two types: mild diarrhea and chronic diarrhea. A child has mild diarrhea when frequent bowel movements are accompanied by the following:

·         Abdominal pain

·         Nausea

·         Headaches

·         Fatigue

·         Less urination

Chronic diarrhoea is however a more serious condition and the symptoms include the aforesaid plus the following:

·         Complete loss of bowel control

·         High fever

·         Bloody stools

·         Continuous loose bowel movements  for weeks

·         Unconsciousness

·         Dehydration



TREATMENT

Diarrhoea usually passes within a week. This, however, does not mean that it should be neglected and allowed to subside on its own. Not all children are lucky with this illness and, if totally ignored, the condition could deteriorate.    
The following should be done to ease the child’s discomfort as well as help him/her get better:


·         The child should be closely monitored to detect the foods he/she is allergic to and triggers this illness.

·         Fruits and fizzy drinks should be avoided until the child gets better.  When this happens, their intake should be reduced.

·         Ensure that the foods given to the child are properly prepared and in clean environments too.

·         Avoid getting foods from street vendors.

·         Foods like; banana, rice, applesauce and toast help to stop diarrhoea. These are commonly referred to as BRAT and are highly recommended by the American Academy of Paediatrics for children suffering from this disease. Others include: yoghurt, potatoes and cooked carrots.

·         Give the child enough water if you notice he/she is dehydrated. Make sure the child takes frequent sips of water. You could also get Oral Rehydration Solutions {ORS} from a good drugstore. The pharmacist should recommend the dosage for the child.


·         Pain killers could also be recommended by the pharmacist to ease the pain in the child’s stomach.


·         Wash your hands well and often especially after changing diapers or using the toilet and generally maintain proper hygiene with yourself and the child.

·         If the affected child is still a suckling, do not stop breastfeeding him/her. Breast milk has been proven to help stop diarrhoea quickly in babies.

·         Consult your doctor if the condition still persists after a week despite all you have tried to do.


Children are very fragile and easily exposed to many fatal diseases such as diarrhoea. In fact, diarrhoea has been proven to be responsible for the deaths of about 1.9 million children under the age of five in most developing countries of the world. It is therefore behooves us all to keep these children safe and protected from this child killer.


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