With the onset of the monsoon season, doctors at Paras Bliss Hospital, Panchkula, have witnessed a rise in incidences of infants suffering with gastrointestinal diseases. Many children, especially between 0-2 years tend to develop diseases such as jaundice, typhoid, and other gastrointestinal infections during the season.
“With the monsoon, we see a jump in the number of cases of food- and water-borne infections. Amongst all, diarrhea is the most common. While infants are always prone to gastrointestinal diseases, their vulnerability towards the infections grows during the months of June to August. Diarrhea is generally caused by rotavirus. However, during the season, enteroviraldiarrhea is more common than rotavirus diarrhea. Unfortunately, the diarrhea caused by enterovirus is emerging as an epidemic, majorly hitting the children of age below 1 year, especially during the season,” said Dr KrishanYadav, HOD and Consultant, Neonatology, Paras Bliss Hospital, Panchkula.
Children are immunized against Rotavirus, but not against enterovirus, which causes a whole range of other infections. Besides, diarrhoea, diseases such as typhoid, jaundice, and Hepatitis A and E also record a surge during the season. Gastrointestinal diseases are common at this time, as the urge to drink water due to hot and humid weather sometimes compels people to use unsafe sources.
“When feeding children, parents tend to give them regular water at restaurants, for instance, ignorant of the fact that it may be infected. Sometimes, even if the establishment vouches for the water, it may get infected just during the journey from the kitchen to the table. Since children who are young do not have a strong immune system, it is important to give them boiled water or RO-purified water. Also, food should be fresh and strictly home-cooked and hygienic to avoid infection,” added the doctor.
Gastrointestinal disorders in children are often indicated by symptoms such as stomach ache, fever, loose stool, body ache, and vomiting. Children who are exclusive breast milk are at a lower risk of catching such infections, compared to children fed on formula food.
“Parents must wash their hands for 30 seconds before attending to their infants, they must ensure that fruits and vegetables are washed properly before feeding. Children should be strictly given purified or boiled water. Since contaminated food and water are the only source of these diseases, improved eating habits and maintaining hygiene can prevent them,” suggested Dr Yadav.
If a child does get diarrhea, immediately inform the doctor, as infants and toddlers quickly get dehydrated. In fact, it is a huge cause of mortality worldwide. The doctor will advise you on ways to rehydrate the baby and rid the body of the virus.