What are the symptoms of infant diarrhea, how to cope with it, what precautions to take and how to stop the infection.
Diarrhea may arise from a minor infection or serious illness. It is dangerous in babies as they lose fluids rapidly and become dehydrated. Babies need to be persuaded to drink cooled, boiled water and for those above the age of 4 months, they can be fed diluted fruit juices.
Mothers need to be alert to the signs of dehydration as this is a very serious condition caused by diarrhea. The infant's fontanel (soft sport) on top of her head will sink in with dehydration. The baby's diaper will be dry for about 6 hours. Baby cries without tears. Her eyes will be sunken and the skin below the eyes is darker in color. Baby will become lethargic or inactive and difficult to arouse for feeds or diaper changes. The baby's mouth becomes sticky or dry.
Other serious symptoms of diarrhea are a high fever of 38.3 degrees Centigrade, bloody stools, and more frequency in diarrhea. If these symptoms continue for 2 days, it is high time to bring baby to the nearest doctor.
Diarrhea may be caused by a contagious germ. Coping with infant diarrhea also involves good hygiene by the mother. Wash hands with antibacterial soap before handling your baby and after changing her diapers. Keep the infant away from other family members to prevent infecting them. Clean all baby's equipment thoroughly. Feeding accessories must be scrubbed and sterilized before use. Wash toys with hot, soapy water. Wash baby's soiled laundry with hot water and mild detergent.
Use disposable wet wipes to clean baby during diaper changes. Clean baby's hands often as her finger sucking may transmit germs. Mother may need to check her finger nails to maintain them neat and clean. Nails harbor microscopic germs that may be transmitted during handling of baby's feeding accessories.
If baby is at the crawling stage, avoid letting her crawl on the floor. She could have picked up dirt or germs at feet level. It may be a good idea to clean floors with disinfectant as often as possible.
If the baby is eating solid or semi-solid foods, the food preparation counter and utensils must be very clean. If you have any doubts, its best to take extra precautions. You can boil water in utensils to clean their insides thoroughly before cooking something in them. Empty out the water and carry on your cooking of baby's food.
Don't thaw baby's food at the kitchen sink. Use a microwave to thaw or thaw them in the fridge's cooling compartment. Use food immediately after cooking to prevent food decomposition. Freeze or refrigerate unused portions immediately. Cool food for baby by soaking the container in water. Discard leftovers as they are contaminated with baby's saliva. Never use any food that's left at room temperature for more than 2 hours as bacterial decomposition would have set in.
With meticulous care in hygiene, baby should recover from diarrhea in no time.