What to do in children’s diarrhea
Written by Dr. Soma Das   

The prevalence of this disease has crossed the alarming point. In rural India its prevalence is 82% where in urban area it is 68%. Whether it is rural or urban the basic fault at the level of general health consciousness by the common people.

In the common childhood disorders Diarrhea in recent days have taken a heavy toll throughout India. Almost everywhere in India the morbidity and mortality due to this disease is creeping up. Despite of taking several precautionary measures by the health department of both state and central level the prevalence of this disease has crossed the alarming point. In rural India its prevalence is 82% where in urban area it is 68%. Whether it is rural or urban the basic fault at the level of general health consciousness by the common people. In the rural background the less availability of useful and low cost medicines make it difficult for the poor people to get the rational treatment. In urban areas the affected children are mostly of slum dwellers and less health conscious family. So in all sphere of the society there should be a mass awareness about this virulent disease and its extent of danger. In Ayurveda there are several medicines which are commonly available at low cost and easy to prepare. Certain home remedies also give the quick relief in the same.
What is diarrhea?
It is the passage of liquid or watery stools more than 3 times a day. A recent change in character of stool is more important.
What is dysentery?
Gross blood in the stool is the hallmark of dysentery and may be accompanied by abdominal cramps and fever.
What is not diarrhea?
Passage of frequently formed stools, Passage of pasty stools in breast fed infants, Passage of stool during or immediately after feeding due to gastro colic reflex, Passage of frequent loose greenish yellow stools on the 3rd and 4th day of life called as transitional stools.
What are the consequences of diarrhea? Dehydration and Malnutrition leading to Death.

Warning signs:
Call your doctor immediately if the following occur:
1. No urine for 8 to 12 hours or a small amount of dark urine.
2. Increased lethargy
3. Excessive sleepiness
4. Dry mouth, lips and no tears on crying
5. Vomiting of blood or bile
6. Blood in diarrhea.
7. Severe headache, neck pain or stiff neck
8. High fever or persistent fever
9. Child just not looking.

Give your child extra liquids to drink. Home made ORS, coconut water, rice kanji, dal, chaas, lassi with salt etc are recommended. Do not give tea, colas, fruits or fluids with extra sugar. Milk is usually recommended unless the child has prolonged diarrhea or lactose intolerance. Avoid over the counter medications to control diarrhea.


Why does diarrhea cause malnutrition?
Impaired intestinal absorption causes loss of nutrients in diarrhea, increased catabolism (waste of energy) due to infection, A child with diarrhea is often not hungry, Mothers withhold food during diarrhea, Doctors do not emphasize proper feeding during diarrhea.
What are the common causes of diarrhea? Rotavirus is the commonest cause of dehydrating diarrhea in children, Cholera is seen in epidemics, Shigella is the most common cause of dysentery, Giardia and Amoebiasis are uncommon causes of acute diarrhea. Vomiting and diarrhea occur in children commonly. They are a part of many childhood diseases. They may occur together or as isolated vomiting / diarrhea alone. It is necessary to keep a watch on a child who is vomiting or passing frequent stools to prevent him from getting dehydrated. Hence, the following measures are recommended:
What to do when child is vomiting with / without diarrhea-
Give fluids to the child. Avoid colas, tea, fruit juices etc. as they contain more sugar worsening the dehydration. Preferably give home made ORS (Oral Rehydration Solution):- In a glass of water (200 ml) add 2 tsp of sugar and a pinch of salt. Give this ORS frequently (1/2 to 1 ounce) every 15 20 minutes. Other fluids like coconut water, rice kanji, dal, butter milk (chaas) etc. may be given. The idea is to give small, frequent feeds to control the vomiting. Gradually increase the amount if the child tolerates the fluids.
In an infant, continue with breast-feeding as it is the best feeding. If vomiting improves after giving fluids, gradually return to the child’s regular diet. If vomiting does not improve or the child appears lethargic, ill or just not well consult your doctor immediately.
When a child has diarrhea: Give your child extra liquids to drink. Home made ORS, coconut water, rice kanji, dal, chaas, lassi with salt etc are recommended. Do not give tea, colas, fruits or fluids with extra sugar. Milk is usually recommended unless the child has prolonged diarrhea or lactose intolerance. Avoid over the counter medications to control diarrhea. A bland diet is recommended for 1 2 days. Give food like khicdi (rice gruel), rice and curd, boiled vegetables, soups and bananas.
Ayurvedic Management
In Diarrhea: Panchakola peya, Juice of Urad dal with little Pippali, Jira & Raal churna with Bilvapatra svaras, Decoction of Sunthi, Atish, Motha, Netrabala & Indrayava.
In Dysentery: Kalk of Tila & Mulethi mixed with tila taila, sugar & honey,
In Cholera: Decoction of Bilva mixed with laja & sugar.
In Diarrhea with Fever: Balchaturbhadrika Rasa, Dhatyakadi Churna Karkatadi Churna.
Dose and duration should be followed as according to the treating physician.