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Management of Infantile Diarrhoea

Acute diarrhoea is a decrease in the consistency of stools, that appear loose or liquid, or an increase in the frequency of evacuation with more than 3 bowel movements in 24 hours. Although chronic diarrhoea is defined as a duration of at least 14 days prolonged diarrhoea of more than 14 days is worrying and requires medical attention.

Acute diarrhoea is a common gastrointestinal problem in infants, although its prevalence varies significantly in the first months of life. Infrequently reported in infants below six months of age, and accounting for about 4% of medical problems, it rapidly increases after this age to become the most common illness in children under three years, with an average of 0.5 – 2 episodes per year.

Symptoms of diarrhoea include:

  • Abdominal pain /distension
  • Dehydration
  • Fever of 37° or higher
  • Vomiting
  • Blood / pus in stools

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CMPA: cow's milk protein allergy; eHF: Extensively hydrolysed formula; FF: formula fed; CM: Cow's milk; BF: breastfed.