Viruses, bacteria and less commonly protozoa (e.g: amoeba). Rotavirus is the commonest virus causing gastroenteritis. During weather changes, there are viruses in the air which can spread and affect children in particular with gastro-enteritis ( stomach & intestinal infection ). This is called viral acute gastro-enteritis and is one of the commonest illnesses in children worldwide. Contaminated food &/ or water can also cause similar illnesses with complaints like vomiting, diarrhoea, abdominal pain, cramps & fever.
Symptoms: Frequent stools, loose or watery stools, vomiting, nausea, stomach pain/cramps, weakness or tiredness & fever.
Main concern: Dehydration, weight loss in babies & children
**How to Manage the situation: **‘vaccination – prevention is better than cure’….rotavirus vaccines are easily available, affordable and effective. Hand washing is an important and effective activity to reduce the incidence of diarrhoea. Hand washing should be recommended before and after eating, after rubbing eyes/nose, after a sneeze or cough, after using the toilet, after playing outdoors, after playing with pets and whenever the hands are dirty! (prevents spread and reduces incidence of diarrhoea).
- Treatment is mainly supportive. Vomiting/nausea control medication. Appropriate food & drink.
- Oral rehydration solutions replace water and electrolyte loss and provide some energy.
- Diet is of utmost importance during diarrhoea & should be avoidance of milk, sugar, fats, etc.
- Rice based food, apple, banana, coconut water, curds(yoghurt) and clear soups should help.
Specific treatment : pre-biotics, probiotics, zinc are useful. But, antibiotics or anti-diarrhoeals have a limited use. For severe or prolonged symptoms, further evaluation and management is a must.Seek medical advise as appropriate. Disclaimer: this is written with an educational awareness purpose. Hope this helps prevent and manage children effectively.