Stomach Infection In Babies: Causes And Home Remedies

Stomach Infection In Babies: Causes And Home Remedies

Babies below the age of 6 months can fall ill very quickly with a stomach infection. It is very distressing for new parents to watch their babies fall ill, but stomach infections in babies are very common. Stomach infection is commonly called gastroenteritis and can be caused by many viruses or bacteria. Viral stomach infections are more common than bacterial stomach infection in babies.

Causes Of Stomach Infection In Babies

Viruses are the leading cause of stomach infections. The viruses which cause stomach infection include adenovirus, calicivirus, and astrovirus. Gastroenteritis which is caused by bacteria is more serious. It can be caused by salmonella, staphylococcus, e-coli or many more.
  • Gastroenteritis in babies is caused when they touch something infected and put their hands in their mouth.
  • Eating or drinking contaminated food or from a contaminated vessel can also cause stomach infection.
  • Infection through Faecal matter is another leading cause of the infection. Anyone who uses the toilet, does not wash hands properly and handles food or drink after stands a chance of infecting others with the virus.
Typically babies and small children who go to day-care are more likely to come down with a stomach infection. It is more common in children below 3 years of age since their immunity is still not developed. Once your child is 3, the incidence of stomach infections reduces. Also read: Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) In Kids: Causes, Symptoms And Treatments

Symptoms of Stomach Infection in Babies

Stomach infection can cause severe stomach cramps. Very young children who still do not speak may not be able to express their pain but you can notice their discomfort and other symptoms which indicate a stomach infection.
  • Nausea or Vomiting
  • Frequent Watery diarrhoea
  • Loss of appetite or a general disinterest in food
  • Low-grade Fever
  • Chills indicated by shivering
  • General tiredness and lack of interest in activities the child otherwise enjoys
Typically, stomach infections do not cause blood in stools. In case, you notice blood in the stools, it indicates a much more serious infection and you should contact your doctor immediately.

Remedies For Stomach Infection In Babies

#1. Hydration

A child with stomach infection can have frequent vomiting and diarrhoea because of which they are at a great risk of becoming dehydrated very quickly. Ensure proper and frequent hydration of the child by giving them small amounts of fluids at regular intervals. Offer the child something to drink every time he vomits. This will ensure he stays hydrated.
  • Water might not be sufficient as it lacks the electrolytes (salt, sugars, and minerals) your child's body loses when he is dehydrated. You could give them an oral rehydration solution (ORS) like electrol.
  • If you are breastfeeding, continue to do so.
  • For older children who are off breastfeeding, avoid milk when he is suffering from and recovering from a stomach infection.
  • Drinks that are acidic in nature, like citrus juices can cause stomach discomfort and should be avoided.
Also read: Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) In Kids: Causes, Symptoms And Treatments

#2. Semi-solids

Once the child is able to drink liquids and retain them re-introduce bland, semi-solid food gradually.
  • You could offer a thin soup made of dal, mashed rice, bananas, or applesauce.
  • Keep the food as bland as possible with no added oil, ghee or spices.
  • Once the child is able to retain the semi-solids you could move onto steamed vegetables or dal-rice.

#3. Medication

Consult your doctor and give only that medicine as prescribed by the doctor in the recommended doses. DO NOT self medicate the child to stop vomiting or diarrhoea. Vomiting and Diarrhoea are the body’s natural way of expelling the infection. It is best to keep the child hydrated, comfortable and complete the full course of medication as prescribed by your doctor. Preventing Stomach Infections In Babies By following seem basic hygiene methods most stomach infections can be prevented.

#1. Vaccinations

Get your child vaccinated as per his vaccination schedule. You should also get your child vaccinated against rotavirus, which is the most common cause of gastroenteritis.

#2. Washing hands

Make sure you and your family wash hands thoroughly before eating and after every visit to the toilet. Hands should also be washed after playing.

#3. Clean eating

Thoroughly wash all fruits and vegetables before eating them. Cook meat all the way through. Avoid the uncooked food counter (pre-cut salad and fruits) at buffets as they might not be properly washed and eat cooked food only as cooking kills the germs in food. Also read: Breast milk is best home remedy for infant diseases (& common infections)

#4. No stale food

Do not offer children food which has been pre-cooked but not stored properly in the refrigerator. Stale food and juices are an easy way to get stomach infections. Whatever the cause, stomach infection typically passes in about 10 days. However, it is best not to leave it unattended for 10 days but seek your doctor’s opinion at the first sign of stomach infection in babies. Want to share your experience as a mom with other moms through words or images? Become a part of the Moms United community. Click here and we will get in touch with you