What is acute gastroenteritis❓
The sudden onset of diarrhea (the passage of three or more loose or liquid stools per day) with or without vomiting in a previously healthy child is usually due to acute gastroenteritis. Acute gastroenteritis is an infection of the gut leading to an inflammation of the stomach and the intestines. It causes diarrhea and may also cause symptoms such as vomiting, abdominal pain and fever. The symptoms normally lasts up to a week.
Dehydration – the main risk of acute gastroenteritis
The main risk of acute gastroenteritis in infants and children is dehydration. Dehydration means lack of fluids in the body and occurs when you lose more fluid than you take in. When the child has diarrhea, the intestine cannot absorb water and salts in a proper way. Vomiting leads to additional loss of fluid. Infants and small children with diarrhea may worsen quickly if they get dehydrated. Pay attention to how your child feels and behaves. Consult a doctor immediately if you suspect that your child is becoming dehydrated.
Important! Infants under 6 months are at increased risk of dehydration. Seek medical advice if your child develops acute gastroenteritis.
How to treat
To prevent dehydration you should encourage your child to continue his or her normal diet as far as possible and, in addition, be encouraged to drink extra fluids, preferably in small and frequent sips. Fruit juices or fizzy drinks should however be avoided, as they may worsen the diarrhea.
If your child is up to 6 months old and is breast or bottle-fed, you may be advised to feed more often.
Oral rehydration solution is regarded as the most important treatment for acute gastroenteritis. It provides a perfect balance of water, salts and sugar, which helps the body to better absorb the water.
Give the oral rehydration solution often and in small portions, preferably by a teaspoon, to avoid vomiting. If the child still vomits, wait five to ten minutes before you try again.
Switch to regular diet when the child’s appetite and thirst return and feed often and in small portions. As long as your child gets better, it is not dangerous to have loose stools for another few days. Nutrients will be absorbed by the intestines anyway.
Antibiotics should not be given routinely, but in some cases an antibiotic or other treatments are necessary, depending on the cause of the infection. Always consult a doctor before taking any prescription drugs.
Can probiotics help❓
Probiotics are dietary supplements containing live bacteria. It has been shown that certain probiotics can help infants and children with acute gastroenteritis recover faster from diarrhea and vomiting.
BioGaia Protectis products contains Protectis, a powerful probiotic strain of Lactobacillus reuteri.
L.reuteri Protectis is clinically documented and has been shown to provide fast recovery from acute gastroenteritis by shortening both the duration and intensity of diarrhea and vomiting in infants and children.
BioGaia probiotics for acute gastroenteritis are available in BioGaia Protectis ORS. This is a 3-in-1 powder sachet with the combination of L. reuteri Protectis, oral rehydration solution and zinc. Mix with 250 ml of water.