Diarrhoea and vomiting in children is a common complaint among parents. The most common cause is food poisoning I.e. taking in contaminated food or water. The danger to the child is usually from dehydration. Most cases of diarrhoea and vomiting are viral and don’t need antibiotic treatment as they tend to resolve on their own.
Since the bodies of little children are composed largely of water, loss of fluids from diarrhoea and vomiting can lead to severe dehydration if fluids are not replaced adequately.
Parents should first of all not panic. They should realise that the most important need is to rehydrate the child. The best fluid for rehydration is ORS. So as a first aid measure parents can start ORS at home. They can also start zinc tablets for 10-14days. This is available over the counter.
Parents should monitor children at home whilst being given fluids. If the child becomes increasingly weak or is noted to be less active, loses more fluids, refuses to drink, cries without tears, has sunken eyes or any other cause of worry in the parent should prompt parents to seek medical attention.
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