Clinics › Pediatric Diseases
Home  ›  Clinics  ›  Pediatric Diseases  ›  Diarrhea In Children

DIARRHEA IN CHILDREN


What is diarrhea?
Diarrhea is characterized by the increased number of daily stools and watery consistency. Diarrhea is also called "watery defecation". It is especially often seen in the children between the children with 6 months and 2 years of age. The most serious threat in diarrheal disease is dehydration. Severe electrolyte imbalance occurs depending on the loss of significant levels of water and electrolytes (sodium, chlorine, potassium, and bicarbonate) with excessive defecation and vomiting and if not substituted, threat of death may occur.



There are many cases which cause diarrhea. Diarrhea can be microbial and can occur due to toxins secreted by microbes, antibiotics, various medications, some gastro-intestinal diseases, some of the hormonal diseases, tumoral cases, sudden and extreme temperature changes, excitement, sadness and fear. Summer diarrheas are usually in microbial form.

What is Diarrhea Important?
Diarrhea is often seen along with vomiting. Co-existence of diarrhea and vomiting causes the body to be waterless and to be deprived of some chemical substances (electrolytes and various minerals etc.), in other words, dehydration.

A result of loss of water and essential chemical substances from the body, heavy clinical tables (such as kidney failure and death) can be seen.

If a diarrhea attack lasts for shorter than 14 days, this is acute diarrhea. Acute watery diarrhea can lead to dehydration and malnutrition can be facilitated. (nutrition disorder). Acute diarrhea is usually the cause of death in dehydration.

If diarrhea lasts longer than 14 days, is this persistent diarrhea. About 20% of patients with diarrhea phenomena can turn into diarrhea. Persistent diarrhea usually leads to nutrition problems and can be the cause of death.

How is Diarrhea Transmitted?
The most common way is consuming contaminated (unclean) water. The need for water increases in parallel with the increase in temperature. People therefore consume more water during the summer months. Using water mostly unreliable water sources, consuming vegetables and fruits washed with these waters may cause diarrheas. Consumption of food materials prepared-stored under non-hygienic conditions or washed-prepared with contaminated waters are important transmission ways. Another important factor in transmission is not caring about personal hygienic rules. The factors may spread easily from person to person under the conditions where hygiene standards are very low. Fish and seafood caught from contaminated waters may be a source for acute gastroenteritis.

Diarrheas can be generally seen in summer months on frequent basis and in places where especially hygiene conditions are bad, cleaning habits of the persons are very scarce, contaminated water, public restrooms, foods sold out and creatures such as fly, insect, rat etc. are present.

How is diarrhea diagnosed?
Stool should be examined with various methods in diagnosis of gastroenteritis cases.

When to refer to healthcare facilities?

 • Failure to be fed from the mount
 • Deterioration of disease state
 • Fever
 • Blood in the stool
 • Not getting enough fluids
 • In such cases above, it should be consulted to the healthcare provider urgently.

How is diarrhea treated?
Together with appropriate antibiotics or antiparasitic treatment, sufficient liquid support is provided orally or via vascular access and liquid-electrolyte balance is enabled to be corrected.

Providing additional liquid for diarrhea and maintaining nutrition, in other words, rehydration is of influential importance.
Most of the antibiotics are not active in treatment of most patients with diarrhea. It rarely yields benefits and sometimes it can aggravate the situation. Unnecessary use of antibiotics could increase the resistance of some pathogens.

What are Risk Factors related to Diarrhea?

 • Travelling
 • Nurseries and schools
 • Nursing home or hospices
 • Some chronic diseases (such as AIDS)
 • Use of antibiotics
 • Other drugs (such as cancer drugs)
 • Eating food and drinking water that are not certain to be clean
 • Keeping animal at home
 • Consumption of seafood

For being protected from diarrhea;

 • Hands should be washed properly.
 • Especially before and after eating, after restroom, before and after feeding babies and changing their nappies, hands should be washed with plenty of water and soap.
 • Foods sold outdoor or in the street and with unknown sources should not be consumed.
 • Required rules should be adhered to in preparation and storage of foods and it should be checked whether foods are deteriorated or not.
 • Especially eating fruits and vegetables, they should be washed thoroughly with clean water before they are eaten.
 • Following water cuts, the water coming first should not be used if possible.
 • Fresh water should be used as drinking water and water that you are not sure of its cleanliness should not be consumed and in suspicious cases, water should be boiled or filtered.
 • Boiling is also an effective method for cleanliness of drinking waters. Boiling the water 20 minutes more after it starts to be boiled will provide required cleanliness.
 • Inspection and chlorinating of waters in repositories it home, school and workplaces and mains water should be performed.
 • The most effective way of being protected from water and food-borne diseases is to rehabilitate environmental conditions.
 • Toilets should be clean in public places (like schools) and there must be water and soap at all times.
 • Use of bleaching water should be ensured in cleaning the places, toilets etc. (1 part bleaching water and 9 parts water).