Would you know what to do if your child had food poisoning? Two local incidences in recent years– the death of a four-year-old boy, and the seizure suffered by a two-year-old girl – are warnings that you should not take the quality of your children’s food for granted.
Food poisoning, or gastroenteritis, is a gut infection marked by diarrhoea, says Dr Sashikumar Ganapathy, an associate consultant with the department of emergency medicine at KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital. The infection is frequently accompanied by vomiting, which typically lasts six to 24 hours.
The diarrhoea usually lasts two to four days; however, it may occasionally go on for 10 to 14 days. Your kid may also experience fever and abdominal pain. Dr Ganapathy says that young children are more prone to food-borne illnesses because their immune systems are not fully developed. Their bodies are not as effective at fighting off bacteria and viruses as an adult’s.
WHEN HE FEELS “OFF”
Generally, medications used to stop vomiting, diarrhoea and abdominal pain in adults can’t be used by children because of the side effects they may cause. So if Junior has food poisoning, there’s no need to rush out and get him medication, unless his doctor advises you otherwise.
“Making sure that your child is well hydrated should be the main treatment,” says Dr Ganapathy. “The use of probiotic supplements has also been shown to decrease the total duration of diarrhoea in some patients.”
Take your kid to the doctor immediately if he shows signs of dehydration:
+ No urine for eight hours
+ No tears when crying
+ He has a dry mouth
+ His vomit is bloody or greenish, or there is blood in his stools
+ He is vomiting persistently and is unable to hold down even small amounts of fluid at frequent intervals
+ He complains of persistent abdominal pain or a severe headache
+ He appears pale or lethargic
+ There is a painful swelling of his abdomen
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