Gastroenteritis, also known as gastro, is a common infectious illness in children that is a very unpleasant experience for both parent and child. Severe cases of gastro are most often caused by Rotavirus. This virus is highly contagious and is spread by touching contaminated hands or faeces (poo). It can also survive on items such as toys, clothes and change mats for days, increasing the risk of it spreading.

Symptoms

Symptoms are typically seen within days of exposure and include the following: vomiting, fever, sudden watery diarrhoea, abdominal pain, dehydration, drowsiness, cough and runny nose.

The first time a child catches Rotavirus is usually the most severe. Most children do not need to be admitted to a hospital following infection. Keep a close eye on young babies as the sudden dehydration caused by the Rotavirus can be life threatening to them.

Duration

Usually, symptoms will last from 4-6 days.

There will initially be vomiting that lasts 2-3 days, followed by diarrhoea that can last for 3-8 days. Mild diarrhoea may persist for a couple of weeks afterward.

Recommendations with Ongoing Gastroentritis

Oral Rehydration Solution – to help combat the dehydration this mix of white sugar (30g) and sea salt (2.5g) is an electrolyte alternative that is easy to make at home. Encourage your child to drink some after each watery stool.

Lactobacillus Rhamnosus GG – a beneficial probiotic that has been studied and shown to be helpful in managing gastroenteritis. Ethical Nutrients gastro relief is also a beneficial probiotic supplement.

Tannin Rich Herbal Tea – tannins help to eliminate viruses that they come into contact with in the gut; try cinnamon tea, raspberry leaf tea, or blackberry leaf tea.

Recommendations After:

Replenish good gut microflora; the ethical nutrient probitic supplement will be beneficial here too.

Replenish the mucin layer; slippery elm and marshmallow root are two beautiful herbs for this.

A good zinc supplement to support immune function and aid in healing the intestinal lining.

Increase foods rich in vitamin A, the richest sources are liver and cod-liver oil, to support intestinal lining repair.

Secure your children’s health by following the suggestions mentioned above about dealing with gastroentritis.

And for more relevant children’s health ideas and tips, you may check out these related articles here.

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