Have you noticed a change in your child’s bowel movement? Has it become loose and watery? Has your baby or toddler been going to the toilet more often than usual?
If so, your child may have diarrhea.
Fortunately, there is safe and effective diarrhea medicine for kids available. As a mom, you can help with preventing diarrhea and taking care of your tiny tot’s tummy at home.
The ABCs of Diarrhea
Diarrhea is a common pediatric problem. It is normally short-lived and lasts for a few days. However, if left unattended, diarrhea can lead to dehydration and other complications.
According to Unicef data published in June 2018, diarrhea is a leading cause of death among children under the age of five around the world. That means there are 480,000 young children dying each year, mostly from South Asia and Sub-saharan Africa. That is why there is a global mission to push for more active prevention of diarrhea to protect children.
Diarrhea can be brought on by a number of causes, such as:
- Artificial sweeteners
- Food poisoning
- Lactose intolerance
- Other digestive orders
Watch Out for the Signs
Whether their children are still in their cots, attending nursery schools, or even already in intermediate schools, parents would always want them to be healthy.
If you are a mommy of a young child, it is understandable that you would worry more. Kids at a very young age would still need your help and guidance, especially when they get sick. Your tender loving care along with your wisdom and knowledge are key in ensuring that your baby or toddler is kept healthy.
When your young child has diarrhea, it is very important to be observant. You have to watch out for red flags so you will know if you need to call for immediate medical help.
Here are the common symptoms of diarrhea in babies and young children:
- Crying without tears
- Drowsy, unresponsive, or irritable
- Dry mouth and tongue
- Fever that is above 39° C or 102°F
- Less frequent urination than usual
- Not having a wet diaper for three or more hours
- Sunken appearance of the cheeks, eyes, or abdomen
Kids would usually complain about tummy cramps or pain followed by diarrhea for about three to four days. Here are examples of other possible symptoms:
- Dizziness or nausea
- Loss of appetite
- Weight loss
Dehydration is a serious condition that may prove to be fatal if left untreated. There are also other signs that you should watch out for. It is best to call a doctor right away if you observe the following:
- Your child has diarrhea for more than three days
- Your child seems to be dehydrated
- Your baby is less than a month old and has diarrhea more than three times
- If fever is 100.4° F for infants and 105° F for babies over six months old
- If more than four diarrhea stools are passed in eight hours
- If not drinking enough fluids
- Your child has vomited more than twice or has vomited bloody green or yellow fluid
- Your child has bloody stools
- Your child has a rash
- Your child has not urinated for more than six hours (babies) or in 12 hours (young children)
Call emergency assistance right away if:
- Your child is too weary to stand up
- Your child is too dizzy or confused
Treatment at Home
If your pediatrician deems it safe for your child to stay home and recuperate, there are home care remedies that you can also try. These treatments for tiny tummies will be especially helpful in keeping them hydrated and on their way to recovery.
1. Diet adjustments
Breastfed infants should continue consuming breastmilk unless expressly ordered otherwise by your pediatrician. Children who are not dehydrated should also consume a regular healthy diet.
Those who are not dehydrated and can tolerate a regular diet may:
- Consume milk products, unless they are lactose-intolerant or have allergies to cow’s milk
- Eat a combination of complex carbohydrates (bread, potatoes, rice, wheat), fruits, lean meats, yogurt, and vegetables
- Avoid food and beverages that are high in fat and artificial sugar
- Eat food in smaller portions but in more frequent intervals to avoid vomiting
However, for children who are dehydrated, lost fluids must be replaced.
2. Oral rehydration therapy
Oral rehydration therapy has been developed as a less expensive and safer alternative to administering intravenous fluids for children who have moderate to acute diarrhea. Both UNICEF and the World Health Organization have recommended the use of an oral rehydration solution in the treatment of diarrhea since 2004.
An oral rehydration solution is a combination of electrolytes (chloride, potassium, and sodium) and glucose (sugar) that is given to those suffering from diarrhea. This is available in most pharmacies and are given to children to replace fluids that have been lost due to vomiting and diarrhea. It is important to consult a doctor to find out what oral rehydration solution is best for your child’s condition, as well as its correct dosage and other pertinent instructions.
Another way of helping to treat and prevent diarrhea is to give probiotics.
The human stomach has good and bad bacteria. If the balance is upset by factors such as diet changes, food disorders, intestinal infections or the like, diarrhea occurs. To keep the healthy balance of bacteria in the gut, certain probiotic strains can help alleviate diarrhea.
The Bacillus species, for example, is a type of probiotic strain that can work against diarrhea. It is a type of probiotic that can withstand conditions such as gut acids, heat, and the effects of antibiotics. It is best to consult your doctor regarding the type of probiotic medicine for diarrhea that is best for your child’s specific condition.
A mom’s gut feeling is often correct. However, with diarrhea, it is still best to be more observant to make sure that it is addressed properly. More importantly, it is ideal to see your doctor if you notice the signs and symptoms stated above.
With proper protection and prevention or intervention plans, children can be kept healthy and have a happy tummy.