Most children battle diarrhea several times in a year, the good news is that this condition does not last for long and can be managed or treated at home. In most cases, diarrhea is more disruptive than dangerous .So what is diarrhea? Diarrhea refers to watery or runny poop that is normally brought on by gastrointestinal problems.
The most common causes of diarrhea in children are viruses that infect the gut; these infections usually last for 2-3 days and are commonly known as stomach or intestinal flu. Diarrhea can also be caused by:
Allergies to specific foods
Eating foods that upset the digestive system
Infections that cause this condition are often highly contagious. Most cases are passed on to others for as long as the infected child has diarrhea. Diarrhea can be spread through:
Contact with fecal matter
Viral gastroenteritis, often known as stomach flu is normally responsible for vomiting and nausea. Many different viruses cause stomach flu, this can be passed through household or play items since it is highly infectious.
The rotavirus is a frequent cause of stomach flu in kids. This virus normally causes explosive watery diarrhea, however some infections caused by this virus does not present any symptoms. The rotavirus is known to wreak havoc during early spring and winter especially in children hospitals and child-care centers. Currently a vaccine is available to prevent about 75 percent of cases of rotavirus infection.
Parasites and bacteria
These thrive in drinking and recreational water. Cryptosporidiosis often results in watery diarrhea that can last up to 2 weeks.
Infections caused by Giardia are easily spread through contaminated water or child-care facilities especially pools and water parks. These bacteria are resistant to chlorine treatment and can be quite troublesome in facilities used by children.
E. coli bacteria
E. coli infections are passed on through contaminated water or food. These include unwashed fruits and undercooked hamburgers that come into contact with fecal matter. E. coli infections usually affects toddlers during the first years of life, it can also be spread through pet zoos and swimming water.
Infants are commonly affected by these bacteria especially during the dry season. Campylobacter bacteria are often found in undercooked or raw chicken.
Salmonella enteritidis bacteria
These bacteria are found in contaminated undercooked or raw chicken and eggs. Salmonella is a major cause of food poisoning especially during summer.
Bacterial infection, the most common form of food poisoning
Signs and symptoms
Loose or thin stools
Urgency to have bowel movement
Vomiting and nausea
Abdominal cramps or bloating
The above symptoms usually apply to uncomplicated diarrhea as well as complicated diarrhea. Complicated diarrhea may present with additional symptoms such as:
Undigested food, mucus or blood in the stool
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