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An article published in the Polish Medical Journal stated that acute gastroenteritis is one of the most common infection among children. An estimated 500 million children suffer from the condition worldwide, each year. In developed countries the course of acute infectious diarrhea is relatively mild and symptoms usually resolve spontaneously within few days. Whereas, high mortality rate remains a serious problem in countries with low economic development.
Acute diarrhea is defined as emanation of loose or liquid stools and/or increased number of defecations – to more than threee pisodes during a day. Other symptoms of gastroenteritis are – fever, nausea and vomiting. The most common etiological factor of acute gastroenteritis are viruses—rotavirus being the most frequent agent. The diagnosis is based on a detailed history, that include specifications related to the duration and characteristics of the symptoms, as well as frequency and occurrence in the community.
A primary step in diagnostic and therapeutic management is dehydration assessment, which determines the severity of acute gastroenteritis and is used as a criterion for hospital admission. The majority of patients can be treated in an outpatient setting; hospitalization is reserved for those requiring enteral or parenteral rehydration. Meanwhile, oral rehydration with hypoosmolar fluids is standard, first-line treatment. Other effective measures include – administration of probiotics; antidiarrheals; and ondansetron,– which reduce the intensity of nausea and vomiting. On the other hand, antibiotic therapy is only implemented in exceptional situations when the specific etiological pathogen has been established.
Source: Polish Medical Journal. 2019 Aug 30;47(278):76-79.