n India, childhood diarrhoea is a major public health issue. Diarrhoea is one of the major causes of death in children under the age of five, claiming more lives globally than any other infectious illness. The World Health Organization ranks diarrheal illness as the second largest cause of mortality, after only pneumonia. India alone accounts for roughly 20% of the entire world load.
Assistant Professor, Department of Pediatrics
Karnataka Institute of Medical Sciences Hubballi
Secretary Indian Academy of Pediatrics, Dharwad.
What exactly is diarrhoea, and why is it so dangerous?
Diarrhoea is defined as the passing of loose watery stools or at least three stools in 24 hours. The number of stools passed in a day varies with age, with the younger kid passing stools more often. A newborn may pass stool up to 5-6 times each day. As a result, a recent change in stool consistency is seen as noteworthy.
The passage of more water and electrolytes in stools during diarrhoea can lead to dehydration and electrolyte imbalance, the most feared consequence.
What is the cause of my child’s diarrhoea?
Diarrhoea can occur for a variety of causes, the most frequent of which is a viral infection of the gut, particularly in infants under the age of two.
Diarrhoea and ORS:
The first thing to do in a child with diarrhoea is to give them plenty of fluids, which include both water and electrolytes. One such life-saving fluid is oral rehydration solution (ORS). ORS, which was first tried on cholera patients during World War II, is widely regarded as one of the most significant medical breakthroughs of the twentieth century. It includes a particular ratio of glucose and electrolytes. It is administered to replenish the fluid lost by the kid as a result of vomiting and diarrhoea. Every year on July 29th, ORS DAY is observed across the world to highlight the significance of ORS. This year’s theme is “ORAL REHYDRATION, NO DEHYDRATION.”
How should I make ORS and provide it to my diarrheal child?
ORS should be constituted exactly as specified in the packet. One packet of ORS typically yields 1 L of solution, however smaller packets yielding 200ml of solution are also available. The entire packet must be made at once, rather than in parts, as this can affect the concentration of the solution and can be hazardous. The ORS must be consumed within 24 hours of being produced. Ready-made liquid ORS preparations should be avoided since they may lack the required electrolyte and sugar content.
ORS should be administered gradually with a spoon or in tiny sips. Giving it quickly may result in vomiting. Remember that ORS will not cure diarrhoea but will prevent and treat dehydration, which is the primary cause of concern. In most cases, the acute diarrheal illness resolves within 3-7 days.
“Today’s children will shape tomorrow’s India”-During World ORS Week, we promise to go even farther to safeguard, promote, and spread our children’s holistic well-being.
*To avoid dehydration, begin administering ORS and plenty of readily available home fluids such as rice/dal water, vegetable soup, yoghurt drink with salt (lassi), or coconut water as soon as possible. Rehydration should not be accomplished using sugar/glucose solutions, fruit juices, or fizzy beverages.
*Continue to breastfeed the kid and do not deprive him or her of food. Give little amounts of home-cooked food on a regular basis.
*Make sure the kid and caregiver have sufficient sanitation and hygiene, particularly handwashing.
*Do not administer antibiotics or any other medications on your own.
*Consult your paediatrician if your kid has blood in his or her stool or seems ill or dehydrated.