Gastroenteritis is a common disorder where the belly and bowel become swollen. It is generally caused by a virus-related or bacteriological infection.
The two key symptoms of gastroenteritis are vomiting and diarrhoea, which generally clears up in around a week.
What Causes Gastroenteritis?
- The most common cause of gastroenteritis in kids is a germ called the rotavirus. This virus is transmitted out in the stools (faeces) of somebody who has the infection. It can be transmitted to food, items and surfaces if the infected individual doesn’t rinse their hands after using the toilet.
- The infection is generally then passed to somebody else when they either eat polluted food or touch an unclean item or surface and then touch their mouth.
- Young kids are predominantly susceptible to this infection because they frequently forget to rinse their hands after going to the toilet or when eating food, and their bodies are not strong enough yet to resist the rotavirus.
- Gastroenteritis can also have several other causes, including anorovirus infection or food poisoning, though these are more frequent in adults.
When to See Your GP
In most cases, gastroenteritis does not need to be established, as the illness generally goes away without treatment.
Though, you should see your doctor if your child:
- Shows signs of dehydration.
- Shows further symptoms of a more severe sickness.
- Has been vomiting for more than three days or has had diarrhoea for more than a week.
- Has blood or phlegm in their stools.
- Has recently been overseas.
- Has a debilitated immune system caused by a primary health disorder, such as acute leukaemia.
- Most instances of gastroenteritis in kids are minor and pass within one week without any specific treatment.
- However, young kids – predominantly those less than one-year-old – are at risk of dehydration, so it is essential that they drink plenty of liquids. In some instances, special oral rehydration liquids might be suggested.
- In serious cases where there has been a substantial fluid loss, hospital treatment might be required so that fluid can be substituted through a tube injected down the nose.
As gastroenteritis is easily transmitted, it’s vital to take steps to avoid it spreading from your child to other children by:
- Encouraging your child to rinse their hands correctly after using the toilet and before they eat.
- Cleaning the potty or lavatory carefully using an antiseptic solution after each incident of diarrhoea and vomiting, making certain you clean the seat and lever.
- Washing your hands frequently, predominantly after exchanging a nappy or washing the potty.
- Not sharing your kid’s cutlery, towels or eating utensils with other members of your family.