Diarrhea is one of the highest causes of infant death in Indonesia.

In Indonesia, diarrhea is a cause of infant death (age 29 days-11 months) with a percentage reaching more than 30% and around 25% in infants aged 1-4 years.

Dealing with diarrhea in infants

What are the Causes of Diarrhea?

Diarrhea in infants can be caused by many things, ranging from intestinal infections to changes in diet, including:

  • Parasitic, bacterial, or viral infections. Infants and toddlers who touch many objects that are not necessarily clean will be vulnerable to infection because they often put their dirty hands in their mouths. In addition, their immunity is still in the developing stage also makes them more vulnerable to contracting the disease.
  • Food poisoning.
  • Consume too much fruit juice.
  • Allergy to certain drugs.
  • Allergy to certain foods, for example cow’s milk allergy.

Babies who are able to digest solid food and are experiencing diarrhea, should stay away from greasy, high-fiber, sweet foods like cakes and milk products for a while. This is because these types of foods can worsen their diarrhea symptoms.

Detecting Baby’s Stool Texture

The best way to detect this disease is to see changes in the color and shape of baby’s feces as early as possible. Baby stools generally change color, smell, and texture according to the food consumed. Stools that turn out to be thinner, more frequent, or more frequently are the main symptoms of diarrhea.

But be careful in distinguishing it from babies who consume breast milk (ASI) which generally also produces feces that are more liquid and foamy. Conversely, stools in the form of small, hard, and infrequent circles can be an indication of constipation.

The following are the colors of the stool that can be a guide to detect the condition of the baby:

  • Light brown or yellowish brown: commonly found in infants who consume formula milk.
  • Blackish green: also called meconium, is feces that appear when a new baby is born.
  • Tanned green: color of baby’s stool approximately five days after birth.
  • Greenish yellow: the color of the stool of a baby who after birth consumes breast milk.
  • Other colors: baby’s stool will be dark brown if it has eaten solid food. This color will change according to the type of food it consumes.

Recognize the Symptoms and Impact of Diarrhea

If your baby is less than six months old and has diarrhea, consult a doctor, especially if you experience symptoms such as the following:

  • Experience vomiting.
  • Look listless.
  • Feces are black, white, or red because they contain blood.
  • There is blood or pus in the stool of a baby.
  • stomach ache.
  • Fever above 39 ° C.
  • There are signs of dehydration.

When a baby has diarrhea, the balance of water and salt (electrolytes) in the body is disturbed. This condition can trigger dehydration which can be life threatening, especially in newborns.

There are several symptoms of dehydration in infants that should be clearly recognized:

  • The condition of his dry mouth.
  • No tears come out when crying.
  • Urinate less than usual.
  • The skin feels drier.

Every parent needs to be aware of the occurrence of dehydration in infants who are having diarrhea because dehydration can quickly worsen the condition of the baby’s body.

Hospital treatment

Especially for babies who have diarrhea, in general need to be treated in hospital using infusions. Your doctor will likely give antibiotics or anti-parasitic drugs to treat bacterial or parasitic infections. ORS may also be given. ORS is a liquid that contains electrolytes to prevent dehydration.

Prevent Diarrhea

The following are some preventative steps that can be taken to prevent diarrhea:

  • Wash your baby or toddler’s hands regularly, especially after playing.
  • Adults who care for babies or toddlers also need to maintain cleanliness so as not to transmit microorganisms that can cause infections in infants.
  • Keep the floor and items held by your baby or toddler clean.
  • If the baby consumes breast milk or formula, always make sure the hygiene and sterility of the bottles used. Also, continue to breastfeed your baby. it can help prevent diarrhea and your baby will recover faster.
  • Pay attention to the cleanliness of food and drinks given to babies and toddlers. Avoid giving food normally consumed by adults. Also, don’t give foods that make diarrhea worse for your baby, such as apple juice, milk, and fried foods.
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