Diarrhoea in children: Monsoon tips to protect your kids

Monsoon is a season where your body becomes prone to several infections and health problems. Kids are more vulnerable to getting diarrhea during the rainy season. Here are some ways to deal with diarrhea in kids during monsoon.
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Diarrhoea in children can be common in monsoon. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock
Dr Rajiv Uttam Published: 19 Jul 2023, 10:30 am IST
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Diarrhoea is a common ailment that affects children worldwide, causing discomfort and concern for parents. It is characterised by loose, watery stools and can be accompanied by abdominal pain, nausea, and dehydration. While diarrhoea can occur at any age at any given time, it becomes highly prevalent among children, especially during the monsoon season. This is due to various contributing factors such as an underdeveloped immune system, making them more susceptible to infections caused by bacteria, viruses, and parasites. Additionally, young children often have a habit of putting objects in their mouths, which increases the likelihood of ingesting harmful bacteria.

Therefore, it is crucial for parents to understand how to provide better care for their children during this period and explore the best possible ways to manage health issues such as diarrhoea in kids. This includes considering dietary considerations, taking precautions, utilising home remedies, finding ways to strengthen the immune system, knowing when to seek medical assistance, and implementing general care tips for this period.

monsoon related health problems
Monsoon makes kids more vulnerable to diarrhea. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

Why is diarrhoea common for children during monsoon?

Diarrhoea is more common during the monsoon due to various factors. The increased humidity and rainfall create an environment that promotes the growth of bacteria, viruses, and parasites, which can cause gastrointestinal infections. Additionally, water sources may become contaminated, leading to the ingestion of harmful microorganisms during monsoon. Children, with their developing immune systems, are more vulnerable to these pathogens, making them more prone to diarrhoea during this season. Furthermore, our digestive system and immune system tends to become weaker due to high humidity, lack of sunlight, increased melatonin levels which contribute to the stomach and digestive issues.

Children should eat healthy to avoid diarrhoea in monsoon

Proper nutrition is crucial for children, especially during the monsoon season. As their immune systems are still developing, eating a balanced diet is essential. Therefore, including foods that are rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants is essential to support their overall health and immunity. Some dietary recommendations include:

  • Offering a variety of seasonal fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds to provide essential nutrients and antioxidants
  • Encouraging the consumption of probiotic-rich foods like yogurt to promote a healthy gut
  • Offering warm, freshly cooked meals and avoiding raw or junk foods
  • Use digestive spices such as garlic, ginger, cumin, and coriander while cooking food
  • Children should drink plenty of clean, purified water to stay hydrated. Parents can also offer coconut water, butter milk, fruit juices, and more to their children.

More tips to prevent diarrhoea in monsoon

Apart from a nutritious diet, parents can take additional precautions to protect their children from diarrhoea and other monsoon-related illnesses. These include:

  • Teaching children proper hand washing techniques with soap and water before meals and after using the toilet.
  • Encouraging children to avoid street food and consume freshly cooked meals at home.
  • Ensuring that drinking water is purified by boiling or using a water purifier.
  • Keeping children away from stagnant water or puddles to prevent waterborne infections.
  • Maintaining cleanliness and hygiene at home, especially in the kitchen and bathroom areas.
  • Ensuring proper ventilation in living spaces to reduce humidity and prevent the growth of mould and bacteria.
Monsoon tips for children
Follow these tips to keep children safe from diarrhea in monsoon. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

Home remedies to treat diarrhoea in monsoon

While medical attention is necessary for severe cases, mild episodes of diarrhoea can often be managed at home. This can be achieved by providing oral rehydration solution (ORS) to replenish loss of fluids and electrolytes. Including easily digestible foods such as boiled potatoes, bananas, and rice in the diet can help firm up the stools. Introducing probiotic-rich foods like yogurt can also be beneficial as they help restore the balance of good bacteria in the gut, aiding in the recovery from diarrhoea.

Apart from following a balanced diet and good hygiene habits, parents should make sure that their child gets sufficient sleep and rest. A well-rested body is better equipped to fight off infections. Additionally, encouraging child to engage in physical activities and exercise regularly also helps boost immunity and overall health.

When to see a doctor?

While most cases of diarrhoea resolve on their own, it is crucial to seek doctor’s consultation in certain situations. These include:

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  • when diarrhoea persists for more than 24 to 48 hours
  • blood or mucus in the stool
  • signs of dehydration like decreased urine output
  • dry mouth
  • excessive thirst
  • lethargy
  • sunken eyes
  • high fever (above 101°F or 38.3°C)
  • severe abdominal pain accompanies diarrhoea
  • persistent vomiting or other concerning symptoms that accompany diarrhoea.

The doctor can prescribe some antibiotics when bacterial infections are the cause and may ask for increased intake of fluids if the weakness persists.

By taking necessary precautions, maintaining a strong immune system, and providing appropriate care, the parents can minimise the risk of diarrhea and help alleviate their child’s discomfort and promote a speedy recovery.

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About the Author

Dr Rajiv Uttam is the director and HOD or pediatrics, pediatric critical care, and emergency, Medanta in Gurugram. Dr Rajiv Uttam is one of the senior most pediatric intensivists and pulmonologists in the country. He was trained and practiced in leading hospital in the UK for 12 years.He has extensive experience of nearly 4 decades in treating sick children due to various causes. He has been instrumental in setting up pediatric intensive care departments (PICU) and pulmonology in major corporate hospitals in Delhi. He has been a founding member and the vice chancellor of the pediatric critical college of the Indian academy of pediatrics (IAP). ...Read More

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