Diarrhea is defined as three or more soft or liquid stools per day. Diarrhea, which is an important public health problem mostly caused by contaminated food and water, is more common in summer. Although viruses are the most common cause of diarrhea in childhood, bacteria and parasites come to the fore in summer.
Water swallowed by children in pools can cause diarrhea
Diarrhea is transmitted by fecal-oral route (by mouth) and contaminated (food-water). In hot weather, viruses and bacteria that cause infections reproduce easily and quickly in foods and cause diarrhea. Again, due to the increasing need for water in the summer months, drinking contaminated water or drinking and potable water that is not well disinfected, washing dishes with these waters, consuming fruits and vegetables washed with contaminated water, and consuming foods that have been kept in a hot environment are taken orally and reach the intestines of people. In addition, the contaminated water that children swallow in the sea and pools also causes diarrhea.
Some of these diarrheal agents taken orally cause inflammation in the intestinal wall, increasing bowel movements and causing the passage of water and inflammatory cells into the intestine. Some of the diarrhea agents cause diarrhea by increasing the passage of water and salt with the effect of toxic substances called toxins that they secrete without causing inflammation in the intestine. It starts with nausea, restlessness, abdominal pain, vomiting and generally fever, then watery stools (diarrhea) begin. In diarrhea, the number of stools increases; The consistency may be runny, watery, slimy or bloody.
If these symptoms are present, a doctor should be consulted.
The most important factor that determines the severity of the disease in diarrhea cases is the amount and frequency of defecation, that is, the severity of fluid loss. The most important undesirable effect of diarrhea is the deterioration of the body's fluid balance, which we call dehydration by losing water and electrolytes through the stool. If the child's losses cannot be compensated with oral fluids, the child's body becomes dehydrated and the mouth and tongue become dry, tears do not flow while crying, the eyeballs collapse in, urinate less frequently and darkly, weakness and a tendency to sleep begin to occur. Children in this situation should be taken to the hospital immediately. Apart from these, children with fever, vomiting, abdominal pain and blood in their stool should be seen by a physician as soon as possible. Especially children under 2 years of age with diarrhea should be followed carefully for signs of dehydration.
The main principle in the treatment of diarrhea is to replace the fluid and electrolytes lost from the body. Breastfed babies should continue to breastfeed. Older children should continue to be fed an age-appropriate diet. fluid intake of the child; It should be increased with drinks such as water, soup, ayran, rice water, apple, carrot juice. Lean pasta, rice pilaf, boiled potato-mashed potatoes, boiled lean meat and chicken, lean grilled meatballs are foods that can be given. If necessary, antibiotics can be started with the recommendation of the doctor. It can be started for probiotics and zinc supplementation therapy. Antidiarrheal drugs should not be recommended.
Suggestions for Preventing Summer Diarrhea:
- Breastfeeding should be encouraged for the first 6 months.
- Pay attention to personal cleanliness. In particular, hands should be washed before and after each meal.
- Do not feed your child vegetables and fruits that have been washed with uncontrolled drinking water of unknown origin.
- Water should not be drunk especially from bottles and carboys that have been waiting in the sun.
- Hygiene rules should be observed in the preparation and storage of foods, especially in summer months, place easily perishable cooked and ready-made foods in the refrigerator and store them there.
- As much as possible, it should not be consumed from the stored foods sold outside. Especially in summer, ice cream sold in the open is an important cause of diarrhea for children. You should shop from places that comply with reliable cold chain rules.
- Give caution to foods such as ice cream that can melt and refreeze. Because if the ice cream has reached, microorganisms may have grown in the period when it melted.
- Do not give cream, mayonnaise and undercooked foods.
- It is important to provide safe drinking and utility water, chlorination of water, and use of suspicious water by boiling.
- It is important that the water is clean, regularly maintained and fully chlorinated when using the pool.
- Care should be taken that children do not swallow water in the pool or sea.