Sunday September 9 2018

Dealing with diarrhoea in infants

Oral rehydration salts can help to replace the

Oral rehydration salts can help to replace the fluids lost due to diarrhoea. file photo 

By Zuurah Karungi

If your child consistently passes watery stools more than three times a day, then he or she is suffering from diarrhoea. Sarah Kawidi, a businesswoman, recalls the time her son suffered severe diarrhoea at two months. “The stools looked like urine. It reached a point when diapers could not help as I would change more than six times in less than an hour,” she recalls. Kawidi took her child to hospital and no diagnosis was made despite the experts having taken samples for culturing. The doctor advised her to do intensive breastfeeding and she was given a few antibiotics.

Causes
Allergy
Betty Nakibuka’s daughter got an allergic reaction to dairy milk. She was advised to discontinue it immediately and take her back to breast milk.
Since she is a working mother, she resorted to giving the baby a lot of fluids which worsened the diarrhoea. Since the child had reached eating age, she gave more food and breastfeed her throughout the night. This, she says, presented a big improvement.

Poor hygiene
Martha Kiberu’s house help was not washing the child’s feeding bottles properly, and the end result was severe diarrhoea, the child’s eyes turned yellow because she got dehydrated. She too underrated the symptoms thinking it was a mild infection, the baby was admitted to hospital for a week.
“From that day onwards, I have had to clean my child’s bottles, rinse them with hot water to kill the germs and make sure the milk she drinks is clean and boiled in clean containers,” Kiberu relates.

Eating dirty things
When a child starts eating, they will put whatever they come across in their mouth.
Eunice Ajok, a nurse at Lubaga hospital, notes that this is the time most children suffer from diarrhoea. She adds that since this is the time most children teeth, parents mistake the diarrhoea for a teething sign.
Kiberu notes that she always puts a coloured play mat for the child to play on. This controls her movements so that she does not eat dirty things.

Food poisoning
The next time Kawidi’s son suffered mild diarrhoea was when she fed him on expired milk. He was given oral rehydration salts (ORS) and antibiotics which relieved him.
Eating contaminated food or drinks could cause diarrhoea, Ajok urges parents to check the food they give their children, especially tinned milk, yoghurt, and leftover food. A child’s food should be kept well and in clean containers to avoid contamination.

Rota virus
Dr Kitaka notes that a parent should be worried in case their child develops bacteria since it could dehydrate the child and lead to death. More so, it can make the child lose electrolytes. She notes that 60 per cent of the diarrhoea in infants is caused by a virus called rota virus.
The virus causes inflammation of the stomach and intestines hence causing diarrhoea in children. Other causes are enteroviruse, polio, paramyxovirus, diseases such as HIV/Aids.

Effects
Prolonged diarrhoea could cause peeling of the intestinal lining, which is harmful to the child. It can also lead to malnutrition and the effects it comes with since the child loses a lot of water.
It could be a symptom of a serious disease and if not taken care of, it could lead to a bigger health problem.

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