BACTERIA: salmonella, shigella (causative agent of dysentery), enteropathogenic E. coli, staphylococcus, Yersinia.
VIRUSES: enteroviruses, astroviruses, parvoviruses and the most famous of them is rotavirus.
The simplest: Giardia, amoeba, blastocyst.
You can get an intestinal infection through dirty hands, poorly washed vegetables, fruits, stale or poorly cooked or fried foods. And sometimes troubles begin after swimming in the river or lake (who will guarantee that dirty water does not fall into the child’s mouth?).
As for rotavirus and other viruses, they are transmitted by the so-called airborne route, that is, at the time of intercourse or accidental contact with a sick person.
Rush hour intestinal infections – summer, but they can catch up in the cold season: in the winter viruses cause the disease, and they call it intestinal flu or ARI with intestinal syndrome.
It is known that only some intestinal ailments are recognized without difficulty. Rotavirus infection, for example, is relatively easy, accompanied by vomiting, watery stools and symptoms characteristic of ARVI.
In addition, this disease, as we have said, just get infected. Dysentery is much harder, it is characterized by a chair with mucus and blood, severe pain and cramps in the abdomen.
As for salmonellosis, during illness the contents of the pot resembles swamp mud: it becomes liquid and becomes saturated green. All other pathogens of intestinal infections usually cannot be detected, so the doctor diagnoses the child KINE (intestinal infection of unknown etiology) and indicates the main “direction” of the disease – vomiting (gastritis), watery stools (enteritis), liquid stools (colitis) or a combination of two symptoms (gastroenteritis, enterocolitis).
Usually, an intestinal infection develops according to a specific scenario. The incubation period — the time from the moment of infection to the onset of the first symptoms — lasts from a few hours to 3-4 days.
That is, the baby may begin to have diarrhea, even if he ate stale food or poorly washed fruit a few days ago. Usually the disease declares itself to be unwell: the child is inactive, gets tired quickly, is capricious. After that, on the same day or on the same night or the next morning, an acute period of intestinal infection begins, which lasts from 1 to 14 days: the baby develops vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and fever.
Sometimes these symptoms replace each other or do not appear at all: for example, some infections go away without diarrhea, only with vomiting and fever; others start with vomiting and continue with diarrhea; others do not cause fever.
The acute period of the disease ends at the moment when the child’s temperature drops and the main manifestation of the disease stops – diarrhea or vomiting. After the recovery period comes, which can last from 2 weeks to several years, if the doctor does not prescribe the correct treatment for the baby. Since at this time the work of the gastrointestinal tract is still getting better, the child will most likely begin to have problems with the chair (it will be liquid, then difficult, then normal, then undigested).
Sometimes children complain of abdominal pain, weakness, and they often develop a rash on their skin. Since during this period the baby becomes vulnerable to viruses and bacteria, remember that he can catch an intestinal infection again or catch a cold.
Since the tactics of treatment of intestinal infections does not depend on the pathogen, you can begin to take action before receiving the results of the tests:
- Fight against harmful microbes: both those that caused the disease, and those that in a “sleeping” state always live in the intestines (the so-called conditionally pathogenic flora).
- Help the gastrointestinal tract.
- Maintain and restore the normal intestinal microflora.
- Resist dehydration.
- Remove toxins from the body – the waste products of harmful microbes.
- Get rid of the symptoms of the disease.
After the acute period of an intestinal infection begins, for 3–7 days the child should be given an antiseptic preparation: furazolidone or enterofuril (suspension). These drugs work well against most pathogens of intestinal infections (including helping to get rid of salmonellosis or dysentery) and do not allow the conditionally pathogenic intestinal flora to “roam”.
In addition, antiseptics do not cause dysbiosis and do not affect the child’s immune system, which is different from antibiotics.
In addition to intestinal antiseptics, you can give your child a biologic that has an antimicrobial effect (bactisubtil; biosporin; sporobacterin; Enterol, Biocodex). Comprehensive immunoglobulin preparations (TRS), which act against bacteria and viruses and strengthen immunity, have a good effect.
After the causative agent is found (usually the answer to bacterial seeding comes when the acute period is already ending), the doctor can add a bacteriophage to the list that will act against a particular “enemy”.
How the disease will proceed depends on the causative agent of the disease, the number of microbes that have entered the body, the condition of the child (is everything in order with immunity, is there any dysbacteriosis) and treatment prescribed by the doctor?
Simultaneously with an antiseptic for 2–3 weeks, it is worthwhile to give the child a probiotic – a remedy with live bacteria of the normal intestinal flora (Linex, LEK; Primadophilus, Nature’s Way; floradophilus; bifidumbacterin). And to support the work of the gastrointestinal tract for 5–10 days, the baby will need a drug with enzymes, for example, Mezym-forte (Berlin-Chemie) or Creon (Solvay Pharma).
Depending on how the intestinal infection proceeds, the doctor may prescribe other medicines to the child: Motilium (Janssen-Cilag) – for nausea or vomiting; No-silo (Sanofi-Sintelabo) to relieve severe abdominal pain and cramps; antipyretics if the child has a high fever. As for antidiarrheal drugs like Imodium (Janssen-Cilag), they should not be used in the acute stage of the disease: otherwise the toxins from the intestines will get into the bloodstream, and this threatens the child with severe poisoning.
ATTENTION! If the doctor prescribes the right treatment for the child, the acute period of the illness will be reduced to 3-4 days (without intervention, it can last 7-14 days), and the recovery will go more smoothly and without serious consequences.
Dehydration – the main trouble that can happen because of an intestinal infection: along with diarrhea and vomiting, the child loses too much of the body’s necessary water. Especially fast dehydration develops in children under 2 years. Therefore, begin to compensate for the loss of fluid as soon as you notice that the situation does not develop for the better (for example, vomiting happens more than 5 times a day; the baby’s stools are very fluid; the temperature has risen above 39 ° C).
For these purposes, suitable salt solutions (Regidron, Orion), 5% glucose solution and the usual drink, which prefers the baby – tea, fruit juice, juice.
Saline solutions are offered to the child frequently and in small portions (5–20 ml every 15–30 minutes). If the baby is sick, let’s give other drinks the same way, and if he feels good, let him drink as much as he wants.
Smecta (Beaufour Ipsen), a remedy that removes toxins and quickly stops diarrhea and vomiting, or other drugs with the same effect — activated carbon, filter, helps in this situation.
If in the first days of illness the baby will refuse to eat, do not feed him forcibly (it is much more important to give him to drink). However, starving the child is also not worth it. During the illness, do not give your baby foods that he has never tried.
Offer food in small portions, but often.
Refuse raw vegetables and fruits (except bananas), raw milk, fried, fatty, spicy and sweets. Boiled or baked vegetables and fruits, dairy products, lean meat, milk cereals, boiled milk can and should be left.
After the acute period of the disease ends, return to the normal menu.
Most intestinal infections are well treated at home, but in some cases the child will have to go to the hospital. This is needed if:
- The disease is very hard, with fever, unstoppable vomiting or diarrhea.
- The baby began to dehydrate. Remember the signs of this condition: dry lips and mouth, sharpening of facial features, grayish tint and flabbiness of the skin, in infants – dropping out fontanel, frequent heartbeat, loss of 10% of weight.
- The child had convulsions, the baby lost consciousness, or he began to rave.
Do not forget that under the guise of an ischemic infection, a child may have an acute appendicitis, which is also accompanied by vomiting and fever, but, as a rule, does not cause diarrhea. If your child has a bad stomach, show him to the surgeon.
Remember that sometimes the main manifestations of intestinal infections arise for other reasons. So, in children under 1, diarrhea can occur due to lactase deficiency or dysbiosis, and vomiting in older children due to biliary dyskinesia or disruption of the pancreas.
In this situation, you will need the help of a gastroenterologist.