Diarrhoea is common in babies. Here’s what causes it and how you can ease your baby’s tummy.
What is diarrhoea?
Diarrhoea is extremely prevalent among babies and toddlers for many reasons, explains Dr Rashinta Moodley, specialist paediatrician and nephrologist. “Infection of the gut is the most common cause due to viruses, food poisoning, or consuming contaminated water. Non-infectious causes are due to inflammation of the gut, food intolerance, or the use of certain medications.”
Symptoms of diarrhoea
- Loose to watery stools
- Abdominal pain and loss of appetite.
- Vomiting may also occur, but the biggest risk is dehydration.
6 Red flags to watch out for
- The decrease in passing urine
- Dry tongue and lips
- Fewer tears when crying
- Irritability and lethargy
- Sunken eyes.
- These, together with fever, are all danger signs, so it’s important to see a doctor if they are present.
How to treat diarrhoea
- A home-made rehydration solution of half a teaspoon of table salt, eight teaspoons of sugar and one litre of cooled, boiled water
- Rehydration solutions available at pharmacies
- Encouraging fluid intake by increasing breastfeeding or formula consumption
- A bland diet for older children (broths, purées, toast)
- Supplementing with zinc
- Taking probiotics to improve gut health.
Remember, says Dr Moodley, that diarrhoea usually resolves itself within two or three days. “However, if symptoms continue or are severe, you should always seek medical assistance as your child may need to be put on a drip for severe dehydration.”
Registered homeopath Dr Jaci Schultz suggests trying homeopathic remedies such as Aloe 6ch and Podophyllum 6ch for explosive, yellow diarrhoea and monitoring your little one’s fruit intake, especially during summer. “Too much fruit often produces a dodgy tummy, so if this is the cause, aside from cutting back on consumption, Ars Album 6ch should do the trick.”