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Child diseases and conditions



Diarrhoea (Diarrhea)


Diarrhoea means an increased frequency of stools, which may be watery or may contain blood or mucus. All breast-fed babies pass five or six semi-formed stools per day. This is normal and this should not be considered diarrhoea.
But, there is a fact that diarrhoea is rare in breast-fed babies, because breast milk is cleaner and also has some protective properties which prevent the bacteria responsible for diarrhoea from multiplying.

Diarrhoea results more water loss from the body, and the baby may become dehydrated. It is important to replace this fluid, otherwise, serious complications may result. Plenty of boiled, cooled water with a little salt and sugar can be given to the baby frequently. Three pinches of salt (half a teaspoon) and 4-finger scoops of sugar (4-5 teaspoonS), i.e., 2.5 gms. salt and 25 gms. sugar in a litre of water make a suitable and pleasant drink.

We should take care to keep water, bottles, milk and so on clean and boiled. Everything should be kept covered and protected from dust and flies, Hands must be washed before handling anything.

If there is any vomiting along with diarrhoea, immediate consultation with the doctor is necessary. All medicines should be given after consulting a doctor. During this time, the child should be given a gradual feed, starting from water, then milk, and gradually other foods that he was eating earlier can be introduced. Excessive withholding of food is not necessary. More under-nutrition results from restriction of food rather than due to illness.

In a small baby, dilute milk may be given for a day or two after diarrhoea, before going on to his original feeds. Orange juice may be omitted for 2-3 days while diarrhoea lasts. There are some electrolyte (salts needed for the body which are lost in diarrhoea) solutions available in the market, which are pleasant and supply the required fluid and salts in a pleasant drink. These may be used instead of the home-made solution.


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