Hand washing reduces the incidence of diarrhea episodes in children by 40%

S. F.

MADRID

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Infant diarrhea is one of the most frequent consultations in pediatric services. In most cases it is usually a disorder that does not imply seriousness, however, it is important to visit a specialist to guide the appropriate treatment when they cause abdominal pain, fever or vomiting, especially if the child is less than five years old. which can lead to dehydration and imbalance in the body.

According to Dr. Javier Miranda, head of the pediatric unit at the Vithas Castellón Hospital, Vithas Valencia 9 de Octubre and Vithas Valencia Consuelo, “diarrhea is not in itself a disease, but rather a symptom of an infection caused by a virus, bacteria, parasite, certain medications, even due to intolerance to some foods that modify intestinal transit. For this reason, it is important to know its origin in order to guide the correct treatment “and he adds,” usually diarrhea in a child can be controlled and improves in a few days. But if it is not treated properly, it can cause serious consequences such as dehydration.

It is usually very common in the summer season, “but we must not forget – underlines the specialist – that winter is not exempt from greater circulation of viruses, such as astrovirus or rotavirus. In fact, the latter is usually the most frequent cause of these episodes in children under 5 years of age, although it should not be forgotten that a percentage of these episodes have a bacterial origin (Salmonella or Shigella for example) that greatly affect the general state of the child with abdominal pain, fever even blood in the stool. In some of these cases with bacterial origin, antibiotic treatment is necessary ”.

The main thing for the professional before any episode of diarrhea, is to replace the fluids that the child has lost in order for the body to be hydrated again. In order to know if a child begins to present symptoms of dehydration there are a series of symptoms that indicate it, «it may happen that he cries without tears, has sunken eyes, a dry mouth, cold or sweaty skin, is irritable and sad. Given these symptoms, immediate consultation with the doctor is necessary, because it is possible that he is dehydrated, “says Dr. Miranda.

As the professional explains, “the minerals that must be restored are sodium and potassium. The child should start eating and drinking from the first moment but slowly and in small quantities, especially drinking slowly and small sips of water or oral serum, avoiding all drinks such as packaged juices, smoothies, sugars and soft drinks or isotonic drinks since it can have the opposite effect due to the large amount of sugar they have.

In addition to dehydration, another cause of diarrhea is an imbalance in the intestinal flora. “The intestinal mucosa must be recovered so that an alteration of the immune system does not occur, a low absorption of nutrients or a reduction in protection against pathogens,” says the head of the unit. “The ideal is to administer probiotics made from a strain of microorganisms, such as lactobacilli, Bacillus clausii and Saccharomyces among others,” explains the pediatrician.

To prevent diarrhea, hand washing with soap and water in the family environment has proven to be a very effective practice for prevention, since it reduces its incidence by more than 40%. «Prevention at home is key by offering children a balanced diet, bottled water, cooking meat, poultry and fish well, and washing vegetables and fruits and utensils and surfaces used to prepare raw meat, chicken or fish well ».

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