It is commonly observed in formula fed babies where poor practices of safety and hygiene are not being followed.
Symptoms Of Diarrhoea
Liquidy and watery stools are seen in young babies. Stools are frequent and are often mucousy and streaked with blood. The diarrhoea may be accompanied by vomiting.
Causes Of Diarrhoea In Infants
The most common form of diarrhoea in infants is caused by the Rotavirus. At times a viral or bacterial infection may also lead to diarrhoea. Teething may also cause diarrhoea. This is because infants may chew on toys and things that could be possibly contaminated. Too much fruit juice in the diet may bring on an attack of diarrhoea. A reaction to antibiotics and other medication could also lead to diarrhoea.
The infection is transmitted through the child’s faeces from the hand to the mouth, not washing hands properly and also contaminated food and drink. The diarrhoea may resolve in a couple of days or can persist over a longer duration.
Treatment Of Diarrhoea In Infants
Continue feeding the child breast milk or formula milk. Increase his fluid intake and give him lots of water. Oral rehydration fluid should be given to the infant to prevent dehydration. This should be given from a spoon every 2-3 minutes. The child should be given at least 250 ml of oral rehydration fluid especially if he is suffering from acute diarrhoea and vomiting. If the baby is on solids, give him starchy foods like watery khichdi, mashed bananas and potato as they are rich on nutrients and will also give him energy. Never give the child salt and sugar solution, glucose solution or juices without consulting your doctor. In case of severe vomiting, continue to give him rehydration fluid and restrict his intake of food.
Once the diarrhoea has lessened and the baby has come back to normal, you can resume a normal diet but limit his intake of dairy foods.
Prevention Of Diarrhoea In Infants
Diarrhoea can largely by prevented through excellent hygiene and sanitation. Always boil baby’s bottles and nipples in purified water for 2-3 minutes till the germs are killed. Prepare formula feeds strictly as per manufacturer’s instructions. Make sure to wash your hands after cleaning the baby’s nappy area. Wash the baby’s hands at least 2-3 times a day and especially when he/she has come from outside. Avoid giving him outside food and water. Carry boiled water and home cooked food for the baby whenever you are venturing out.
Limit his intake of fruit juices especially if he/she is sensitive to them. Breast feed the infant for as long as possible to increase his immunity. You can also vaccinate the child against rota virus. This vaccine is easily available at your practitioner’s office.
If the baby shows low urine output and severe dehydration, rush him/her to the doctor and get him treated. Prevention is always better than cure so follow safe food handling practices to prevent the recurrence of an infection.