Health Family Work

What is diarrhoea and why is it dangerous for my child?

Diarrhoea is caused by germs that are swallowed, especially germs from faeces. This happens most often where there is unsafe disposal of faeces, poor hygiene practices, lack of clean drinking water, or when infants are not breastfed.

Diarrhoea kills children by draining liquid from the body, which dehydrates the child. Children are more likely than adults to die from diarrhoea because they become dehydrated and malnourished more quickly. As soon as diarrhoea starts, it is essential to give the child extra fluids along with regular foods and fluids.

A child has diarrhoea when she or he passes three or more watery stools a day. The more numerous the watery stools, the more dangerous the diarrhoea.

Some people think that drinking liquids makes diarrhoea worse. This is not true. A child with diarrhoea should be given drinks, including breastmilk, as often as possible. Drinking lots of liquids helps to replace the fluids lost during diarrhoea.