Whether viral or bacterial in origin, acute diarrhoea in infants is characterised by an increase in the number of stools passed – more than one every four hours of liquid consistency.
If not appropriately and quickly treated, the main danger is, of course, dehydration. Passing frequent and abundant stools in fact leads to substantial fluid loss.
And the consequences can be serious, as several children die from dehydration following a bout of acute diarrhoea.
If you find yourself in this situation, the first thing to do is to use oral rehydration salts (ORSs) which you should always have on hand in your medicine cupboard at home.
Available from pharmacies, these little tablets are diluted in water and given to your baby in small amounts: 5 ml every 2 minutes to begin with, then 15 ml every 15 minutes for as long as your little one is thirsty.
And most importantly, do not use just water, water sweetened with sugar, or soup, instead of ORSs.
During the first few days, make a point of waking your child at night and getting him to drink, and try to introduce food again quickly.
But if his condition doesn’t improve, go and see your GP or specialist paediatrician.