Gastroenteritis (“gastro”) is a bowel infection causing diarheoa and sometimes vomiting. This can be caused by a virus (‘stomach flu’) often picked up at day care, play group etc. or bacterial (most often ‘food poisoning’)

Diarheoa means runny, frequent watery bowel motions. The vomiting may settle quickly, but the diarheoa can last up to ten days. In most cases no medicines are needed.  Babies under 6 months can become ill very quickly with gastro because of the loss of fluid.

Seek medical attention if:

  • Your baby is under 6 months old and has vomiting and diarhoea
  • You think your child is dehydrated
  • Your child has severe stomach pain
  •  OR you are worried for any other reason

What to do:

  • It is important to replace fluids lost due to the vomiting and diarhoea. It is important for the fluids to be taken even if it seems to make the symptoms worse.
  • Offer extra breast feeds to your baby. Allow your baby to breastfeed as much as possible. Young babies can become dehydrated very easily and mostly want small amounts often.
  • For older babies you can also give small amounts of water or diluted apple juice often or the re-hydration drink outlined below. A mouthful every 15 minutes is best if your child is vomiting a lot. Keep in mind that Mums breast milk is absolutely the best fluid for sick children. It is easily digested, contains lots of friendly, helpful gut bacteria as well as immune factors specific to the particular virus they have.

Infection control

  • Your baby or child is infectious so wash your hands well with soap and warm water, particularly before feeding and after changing nappies
  • Keep your child away from other children as much as possible until the diarhoea and vomiting has stopped.

Signs of dehydration

  • Your child is not passing urine
  • Sunken eyes
  • Cold hands and feet
  •  Hard to wake up

Diet

  • As I have already said lots of breast milk is the best remedy for a baby with gastro.
  • You can make your own rehydration drink by taking 1L of boiled water add 1 dessert soon of either glucose syrup or sugar and 1 teaspoon of sea salt. Drink this slowly. Remember breastmilk is better than this.
  • If your baby is vomiting very frequently and does not appear to be tolerating fluids, try to give 0.5ml per kg of body weight every 5 mins.
  • If your child is old enough for solids, once vomiting has settled begin giving foods slowly. Start with small amounts of well cooked white rice and cooked apple or pear.
  •  Introduce other foods slowly. Avoid green veggies until your child appears to have recovered.

Supplements

  • You can give slippery elm powder to baby’s from 6 months onwards. Add 1 teaspoon of the powder mixed into 1/3rd cup of water and feed to your baby on a teaspoon or syringe into the mouth. This will help to bulk up the stool, reduce cramping and reduce the frequency of bowel motions.
  • A children’s acidophilus/bifidous supplement will help to maintain healthy intestinal flora and help them recover more quickly.

Homeoepathy

See Using homoeopathy for Infants for general guidelines and safety considerations.

Veratrum album

  • For profuse painful diarrhea that is forcibly evacuated followed by great weakness.
  • Despite feeling very chilly, these people crave ice and cold drinks.
  • Often profuse sweating with chills
  • May experience projectile vomiting

Arsenicum album

  • Leading remedy for diarrhea caused by food poisoning or from viral diseases
  • Diarhoea is worse after eating or drinking, and is usually accompanied by nausea, vomiting and burning or cramping pains in the abdomen.
  • The person is usually exhausted by the diarrhea, but he or she is also restless, fidgety, and generally anxious.
  •  May have a fever with chills, and regardless, they are chilly and very sensitive to and aggravated by cold.
  • They can be very thirsty but can only handle drinking sips of fluids at a time.

Chamomilla

  • This remedy is useful in infants who experience diarhoea, especially when they are extremely irritable during their illness.
  •  Typically, the diarrhea is foul smelling and green or has white or yellow mucus. The child will be in great pain
  •  Holding and carrying the child is the only thing that provides temporary relief. Often this will only work for a short period of time.

Podophyllum

  • This is a great remedy for acute diarhoea.
  • It is indicated when the person experiences a sudden urgency for a stool (it may even drive the person out of bed early in the morning)
  • There are profuse, offensive-smelling stools, and great rumbling and gurgling in the tummy before the stool.
  • Typically, the release of the stool is painless, but in-between stools the child may experience cramping that may cause them to curl up.
  •  The child will experience a large thirst for cold liquids.

Reflexology routine for constipation and diarhoea

See Using reflexology with your baby for guidelines.
Use this reflexology foot chart to help you identify the areas talked about below.

1. Relax both feet with relaxation techniques and end with a thumb press on the solar plexus point in both feet.

2. Gently work each of the points suggested below

  • Throat, oesophagus, thyroid and parathyroid areas
  • Mouth area
  • Pituitary, pineal, and hypothalamus
  • Spine with emphasis on the lower spine area
  • Stomach
  • Pancreas
  • Spleen
  • Sigmoid colon
  • Up the descending colon to the waist l,ine and pelvic line (both feet)
  • Kidney
  • Liver
  • Gallbladder
  • Adrenals
  • Ileocecal valve
  • Up ascending colon and across the transverse colon

3.  Finish with the relaxation techniques and thumb press on the solar plexus point in both feet.