Gastroenteritis in the baby: how should I act?

Gastroenteritis in the baby is a disease that can lead to serious problems. For that reason Early identification and adequate guidelines are important.

To avoid complications it is necessary to know what are the warning signs, in addition to the specific care that improves the picture. Preventive measures, such as rotavirus vaccination, should be evaluated at the baby's early age, following the recommendations of the pediatrician.

What is Gastroenteritis in the baby?

Is a digestive inflammatory disease that usually affects the stomach or intestines. It usually debuts with the following signs and symptoms:

  • Diarrhea. The baby's normal stools are soft or liquid; this makes it difficult to identify diarrhea. If you notice changes in the stools with the presence of a greater number, it is advisable to consult with your pediatrician.
  • Vomiting. It is important to differentiate them from regurgitation; for this it is necessary to know that vomiting occurs with a strong exit of the food and regurgitation is an easy exit from the flows that is usually accompanied by belching.
  • Fever. External temperature (measured in axilla or groin) greater than 37.5 ºC.
  • Abdominal pain. It is the most difficult symptom to identify because it presents only with crying.

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What causes gastroenteritis in the baby?

The main cause of this condition are infectious diseases that can appear due to viruses, bacteria or parasites. Within the viruses, rotavirus is the most frequent and more important in developed countries.

It can also be due to non-intestinal infections as otitis or urinary infections. It can even appear with non-infectious diseases such as dietary alterations or other more systemic ones.

The gastroenteritis in the baby almost always appears by a viral or bacterial infection that affects the intestine. However, it can also have non-infectious causes.

What to do to prevent these pictures?

In order to prevent gastroenteritis in the baby, we will have to take into account what is its main cause. As we mentioned earlier, Germs are the main causes and we must prevent their transmission.

As a consequence, a series of actions that favor the rupture of the chain of transmission of germs:

  • Frequent hand hygiene. This is one of the main steps to break the chain of transmission of germs.
  • Follow well the recommendations on the conservation of baby's milk, either artificial or maternal.
  • Avoid contact with adults or children who show signs or symptoms of illness. When in doubt about whether they are in the contagion phase or not, maintain a cautious behavior and avoid visits.
  • Do not kiss babies' mouths or hands if any possible infection is suspected. Saliva is the driver of many pathogens.
  • Good hygiene of teats and pacifiers. Wash the teat and pacifiers daily.
  • Vaccination calendar daily and adequate. Ask your pediatrician or pediatric nurse about the rotavirus vaccine.

Read also: When should a baby start drinking water?

When should I see a doctor?

Gastroenteritis in the baby is a disease that requires vigilance on the part of parents or relatives. Within the most frequent complications they find each other:

  • The dehydration by excessive loss of water and electrolytes.
  • Hypoglycemia, as a consequence of the lowering of blood sugar levels.
  • Transient lactose intolerance, due to the loss of enzymes in the walls of the intestine.

Gastroenteritis in the baby should be a reason for medical consultation when there are warning signs such as high fever, blood in the stool or vomiting.

To avoid these situations it is convenient to go to the pediatrician or the emergency service before the following warning signs:

  • If diarrhea occurs in babies with less than 6 months old.
  • In the presence of fever of 38ºC or higher.
  • When vomit appears or rejects all the shots.
  • To check weightloss.
  • If the stool shows blood or mucus.

The pediatrician can perform a diagnosis of gastroenteritis in the baby after evaluating the clinic. As a result of the valuation You may request a stool culture to detect the causative agent.

What is the treatment of gastroenteritis in the baby?

When a possible gastroenteritis picture appears in a baby, the parents or caregivers will have to watch over the picture and Pay attention to the tolerance of food:

  • Continue with breastfeeding. It is one of the main measures in babies or infants. But formula milk should not be diluted and it is necessary to keep the same doses in the preparation.
  • The pediatrician, after the assessment, can detect the need to perform a treatment on the baby based on the contribution of oral supplements for hydration.
  • If you do not tolerate oral fluids, the doctor may assess the need for perform intravenous hydration to promote recovery and avoid serious complications.

Do you suspect this disease in your baby? If you identify your symptoms, request an assessment as soon as possible with the pediatrician. The professional can determine the best treatment according to the needs of the child.