Symptoms, treatment, prevention… Update on gastrointestinal eruptions in babies

With: Dr Eric Sellam, pediatrician

Your baby has sudden vomiting or dazzling episodes of diarrhea, which are impressive by their frequency but also sometimes by their short duration. Without being a particular type of gastroenteritis, these “flash” gastroenteritis should be monitored with caution, as they can have serious consequences for the infant. We take stock of these gastroes with Dr. Eric Sellam, pediatrician and vice-president of the National Syndicate of French Pediatrics (SNPF).

Definition: what is gastro-eclair? What are its causes in the baby? How long does it last in children?

When talking about gastro-eclair, it is important to know that in all cases, it is similar to classic gastroenteritis, as Dr. Eric Sellam explains: “It is gastroenteritis – acute enteritis. It is usually caused by a virus called rotavirus. The latter is seasonal and is often contracted by babies and children during the winter. For their part, adults, on the other hand, will more frequently contract what is called a norovirus. Rotavirus is very contagious, and can be easily transmitted in nurseries or schools. Gastroenteritis can also be caused by a bacterium or a parasite, but this case is much rarer. If, as a general rule, the “classic” gastro-enteric will last several days, the gastro-eclair will only last several hours.

Acute rotavirus gastrointestinal infections, although faster, will give the same symptoms as a classic gastrointestinal illness, as Dr Eric Sellam reminds them “The symptoms of acute gastrointestinal illness in babies and children will be vomiting, which are generally systematic after the ingestion of food. There will also be frequent acute diarrhea, with watery and foul-smelling stools. The symptoms that may also appear will be fever, headaches or even abdominal pain and loss of appetite.

What to do, and not to do, in case of gastro flash in infants and young children? When to worry?

In the vast majority of cases, acute rotavirus gastroenteritis is not serious. On the other hand, even if it only lasts a few hours, the main risk will be dehydration, as Dr. Eric Sellam points out: “When the child has gastroenteritis, diarrhea and vomiting will cause a loss of liquid in his body, which can cause dehydration. If we do not react by quickly rehydrating the baby, the consequences can be serious, even fatal. »

The signs of severity of gastro in babies and children:

To avoid the consequences of dehydration, it is important to know these warning signs listed by the pediatrician:

– The child is less than 2 years old,

– He has not urinated for more than 8 hours,

– He is tired and lethargic

– His mouth is dry, his lips are cracked,

– He suffered a weight loss of more than 5%,

– By pinching the skin of his abdomen, we observe “the persistence of the skin fold”: the fold formed persists for a few seconds when released, a sign of deep dehydration,

– The baby or child refuses to drink, or is seized with uncontrollable vomiting preventing oral hydration,

– Presence of poor skin color

The reflex to adopt: oral rehydration solutions (ORS)

If your child shows symptoms of dehydration, you must act quickly: “If you have the slightest doubt, contact a doctor or go to the emergency room. As a preventive measure, there are Oral Rehydration Solutions (ORS) to feed to your child. An oral rehydration solution is a regulated product. It is composed of: carbohydrates (sugars), bicarbonates, sodium, potassium and chlorine (electrolytes). Each of these elements will help to rehydrate the child:

  • carbohydrates (sugars) provide energy and promote the absorption of water by the body,
  • electrolytes compensate for water loss caused by diarrhea,
  • bicarbonates rebalance the acidity of the body.

In the case of acute gastroenteritis in babies or children, these recommendations must also be followed: “It is important to do not give Imodium or drugs of this type in case of diarrhoea. Also forget ibuprofen. Also avoid special diets. The best solution is to consult the doctor, who will give you treatment for the disease, ”says the pediatrician.

In order to best avoid this contagious disease, the best weapon is still that of prevention, advises Dr. Eric Sellam. “The barrier gestures, which we now know well, are essential to avoid gastroenteritis. In particular, hand washing, which is essential to avoid these highly contagious infections. At the same time, there are two vaccines against gastro rotavirus for infants. These are Rotarix and Rotarex, which are administered orally. They are intended for children under 24 months,” advises Dr. Eric Sellam.


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