Have you ever had the “stomach flu ?” what you probably had was gastroenteritis -not a type of flu at all .
gastroenteritis- is an inflammation of the lining of the intestines caused by a virus ,bacteria or parasites.it spreads through contaminated food or water, and contact with an infected person .the best prevention is
frequent hand washing.
symptoms of gastroenteritis include diarrhea ,abdominal pain ,vomiting ,headache , fever, and chills. most people recover with no treatment.
the most common problem with gastroenteritis is dehydration .this happens if you do not drink enough fluids to replace what you lose through vomiting and diarrhea. Dehydration is most common in babies, younger children,the elderly and people with weak immune system.
Gastroenteritis in children
Gastroenteritis in an infection of the gut . it causes diarrhea , and may also cause vomiting ,tummy pain and fever in most cases the infection clears over several days,but sometimes takes longer .the main risk is dehydration.
the main treatment is to give the child lots of drink,often this is with special rehydration drinks ,Also to encouragethe child to eat as normally as possible. see a doctor if you suspect that a child is dehydrating ,or if they have any worrying symptoms which are listed below.
what are the symptoms of gastroenteritis?
▪ The main symptom is diarrhoea , often with vomiting as well.
▪ crampy pains in the abdomen(tummy) are common .pains may ease for a while each time some diarrhoea is passed.
▪ High temperatures and headaches are common if vomiting occurs.it usually lasts only a day or so. Diarrhea often lasts for several days or more and often continues after the vomiting stops. Loose stools can persist for a week or so before a normal pattern returns. sometimes the symptoms last longer.
Can gastroenteritis be prevented?
Proper storage ,preparation and cooking of food, and good hygiene helps to prevent gastroenteritis. in particular ,
always wash your hands,and teach children to wash theirs:
▪ After going to toilets (after changing nappies ).
▪ Before touching food. and also between handling raw meet and food ready to be eaten(there may be some bacteria on raw meat).
▪ After gardening.
▪ After playing with pets (healthy animals can carry certain harmful bacteria).
what is the treatment for gastroenteritis in children?
Symptoms often settle within a few days or so as the immune system usually clears the infection .The following are commonly advised until symptoms ease.
-Give the child lots of fluids to drink –the aim is to prevent dehydration ,or to treat dehydration if it has developed.
-rehydration drinks are the ideal drinks to give .They are made from sachets that you can get from pharmacies.They provide perfect balance of water ,salts ,and sugar.They are better than just drinking water alone.They do not stop or reduce diarrhea, but are the best drinks to prevent or treat dehydration.
-The child should eat as normally as possible,if he or she does not want to eat,that is fine drinks are the most important and food can wait until the appetite returns.
-Medication is not usually needed,and drugs to stop diarrhea to children under the age 12years old should not be given.