Gastroenteritis Symptoms in Children

What is Gastroenteritis?

Gastroenteritis is an infection of the intestine or stomach caused by several types of viruses and bacteria. This condition is also known as stomach flu. Gastroenteritis can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach cramps, or sometimes fever in the sufferer.

gastro in toddlers

Gastroenteritis can be spread by close contact with an infected person or through a food or drink that has been contaminated with the virus. These infections are easily spread in closed public facilities, such as in classrooms, child care, or general care rooms.

Cooked foods are left too long in room temperature can also be the cause of the emergence of gastroenteritis bacteria. This condition is often referred to as food poisoning. Gastroenteritis rarely causes complications. However, this condition can be fatal or even deadly if it occurs in infants, elder, and people who have problems with their immune system.

Childhood Symptoms of Gastroenteritis

Symptoms of gastroenteritis will occur between 1-3 days after infection. The severity of symptoms varies, ranging from mild to severe. Symptoms will generally last for 1-2 days, but can also up to 10 days. 
The symptoms that usually appear are:
  • Pain and abdominal cramps.
  • watery diarrhea, but not mixed with blood (if the diarrhea is mixed with blood, the infection may be different and worse).
  • Nausea and vomiting.
  • Appetite decreased.
  • Weight loss.
  • Often sweats and skin becomes damp.
  • Occasionally fever, headache, and muscle pains occur.

Here are some groups of individuals who are at high risk of gastroenteritis, including:
Little child. Children are more susceptible to viral infections because they do not have a strong immune system.
  • School children and living in dormitories. This infection can be transmitted easily in places where there are many people gathered at close range.
  • The elderly. The immune system in the elderly will decrease. This infection can easily be transmitted to the elderly if they live close to a person who has the potential to spread the germs.
  • People with weak immune systems. People with certain medical conditions, such as HIV and chemotherapy, are at higher risk of contracting infections because their immunities are attacked by the conditions they are suffering.

Treatment of gastroenteritis in Children

The main purpose of treatment of gastroenteritis is to prevent the occurrence of dehydration. Therefore, patients are encouraged to drink plenty of water. If the dehydration is severe enough, the patient may need to be admitted to the hospital for fluid intravenously.

Oralite may be given to help rehydration. This drug contains the electrolytes and minerals needed by the body.

Antibiotic medicines are not effective against viruses. In addition, do not give aspirin to relieve symptoms of pain in patients who are under the age of 16 years. To help relieve symptoms of gastroenteritis, 

do some of the following tips at home:

Strive to always drink more fluids. 

If drinking difficulties directly from the glass, use a straw. Avoid eating fruit juice because this drink can actually increase the symptoms of diarrhea experienced.
Consumption of foods in small amounts and easily digested, such as bananas, porridge, and fish. It aims to provide recovery time for your stomach. Stop eating if the nausea begins to feel again.

Use more time to rest.

Children and adults can consume drinks containing electrolytes to replace electrolytes in the body. Oralit is also highly recommended for treating infants and children. Avoid ice cream or soft drinks because it can aggravate diarrhea in children.

gastroenteritis In children should be treated as early as possible because the disease can cause death. Symptoms to watch out include easy drowsiness, dry lips and mouth, cold hands and feet. If that happens to your child, rush to the hospital for the best treatment.

The doctor will provide fluid intake to your child with nasograstic or NG tube, which is a tube inserted through the nose to the abdomen. The fluid intake can also be administered to your child directly with intravenous therapy injected through the blood vessels.

You can also do self-care by administering fluids to infants, 15-20 minutes after they have vomiting or diarrhea. This time lag is required for the baby's stomach to rest for a moment. Breast milk can be given to a baby if he is still breastfed. In addition to breast milk, oral acid or formula can also be given if the baby can drink from the bottle.

Prevention of gastroenteritis

Here are some ways you can do to prevent the occurrence of intestinal infection:

Washing hands. 

Wash the whole hand (including the sidelines of the nail) to clean. Use soap, then rub your hands for about 20 seconds, and rinse with clean water. If there is no soap and water, use a cleaning wipes or hand sanitizer.

Always use personal equipment. 

It is advisable to use your own cutlery and drinkware, such as cups, plates, spoons, and forks. Avoid using cutlery alternately with others. Make sure every family member has their own towels.
Keep distance. Avoid direct contact with a person infected with gastroenteritis, try to keep a distance from it. Do not touch items used by an infected person.

Cleaning things. 

Clean items, places, and also surfaces touched by an infected person. Objects such as table surfaces, faucets, door handles, spoons, forks, and other equipment used by gastroenteritis patients. those can be a medium of transmission of the virus.

Rotavirus vaccine. 

This vaccine is given to prevent diarrhea due to rotavirus. There are two types of rotavirus vaccine, namely rotateq and rotarix. Rotateq is given three doses at infants aged 6-14 weeks, 4-8 weeks later, and 8 months of age. While rotarix is ​​given two doses at the age of 10 weeks and 14 weeks (6 months).

In addition to some of the above efforts, there are some things you can consider to prevent gastroenteritis. If you are traveling or in a public place, you should be careful in choosing foods and beverages that you consume. 

Here are some things to avoid:
  • Avoid eating raw foods, either vegetables or fruits that have been peeled or touched by the hands of others.
  • Do not eat meat that is not cooked properly.
  • Buy bottled water to avoid consuming contaminated water. Including when you brush your teeth, it is advisable to keep using bottled water.

Avoid consuming ice cubes that cleanliness is not guaranteed, because it could be the water used to make ice is contaminated by the virus.

Subscribe to receive free email updates: