You’ve probably seen a child suffering from this condition and it aint fun for them.Diarrhea is the passing of loose stools 3 or more times in a span of 24 hours. This condition affects so many of our children here in Africa, especially those below 5 years of age, making us get worried, loose work time and more money just to see them fine.In fact in most African countries, most children below 3 can experience about 3 episodes of diarrhea a year. Apart from making our children sick, diarrhea is the second leading cause of death in our children below 5, killing over 760,000 children a year gobally; most of these in developing countries
Which children are atmost risk of developing life-threatening diarrhea
- Children who are malnourished
- Children with impaired immunity
- Children living with HIV
The most worrying thing about diarrhea is that it causes magnificent fluid loss from our children leading to dehydration. Our children also lose body nutrients in this for example sodium, potassium, chloride and bicarbonate. So when the child loses both fluids and nutrients, they develop dehydration and will show the following signs and symptoms:
- sunken eyes
- decreased skin elasticity
- pale skin
- reduced urine output
- reduced consciousness
- moist extremities
And when severe
Diarrhea in our children can be caused by the folowing:
- Infection; Bacteria, viruses or parasites could cause infection in your child. Rota virus and E.Coli are the biggest culprits here.
- Malnutrition; This condition usualy impairs the child’s immunity making them more vulnerable to develop diarrhea. In turn, the diarrhea makes the condition even worse
- Unsafe water;Taking Water contaminated with faeces, whether human or animal will make a child develop diarrhea.
- Poor hygiene; failure to always wash your hands and keeping food in dirty containers wil usually cause diarrheal episodes.
Diarrhea in our children is actually preventable and manageable if we can be vigilant enough in our homes and do the following;
- practice hand washing with soap
- keep food in clean containers
- always boil all water for drinking
- exclusive breastfeeding for 6 months
- endeavor to feed our children well; with a balanced diet, to keep them healthy
- vaccinating our children for Rota virus
- practicing good sanitation
how to manage the diarrhea
- rehydration; Make a solution of ORS(Ora Rehydration Salts) using some clean water , salt and sugar and give to the child every time they pass a loose stool
- Give zinc supplements; These have been found to reduce stool volume by about 30% and decrease the duration of diarrheal episodes by 25%.
- Proper Nutrition; Feed your child well during a diarrheal episode. If breastfeeding, continue with the breastfeeding.
If you’ve done the above and the signs and symptoms continue to escalate; please see your doctor for advice or contact one of our doctors on aferdoc.com for guidance.