20 October 2009

What is acute gastroenteritis?

After what Werney & Anney have gone through for the last week, I am determined to find out more on what exactly is acute gastroenteritis ("AGE"). Learning more about this illness would hopefully helps to prevent and manage a relapse in future.

Gastroenteritis (also known as gastro, gastric flu, tummy bug in the United Kingdom, and stomach flu) is generally an inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract involving both the stomach and small intestine.

In fact, this is a very common illness in infant and young children below 5. The main causes of gastroenteritis are virus and bacteria. For children, the majority of the severe cases are due to rotavirus (Anney has been vaccinated against rotavirus!). Unfortunately, no test was done at the hospital to identify the exact type of virus or bacteria that causes the AGE in Werney and Anney.

Symptoms and signs

Gastroenteritis often involves stomach pain or cramp, diarrhea, vomiting, fever, headache and weakness.

More serious symptom includes dehydration - weakness, light headedness, decreased urination, dry skin, dry mouth, lack of sweat or tears, sunken eyeballs etc


There is generally no medication to treat gastroenteritis. However, doctor may give medication to stop the vomiting (antiemetic). For fever, it is usually treated with paracetamol or ibuprofen.

Antibiotic is usually not given unless the bacteria has been properly identified through laboratory testing as using a wrong antibiotic may prolong the infection.

Offer frequent small amount of fluid or re-hydration solution to the child. If you are breastfeeding, you may continue to do so. However, if you are bottle-feeding your baby with formula milk, formula should be stopped and offer clear fluid. You may resume formula after 12 - 24 hours or until the vomiting / diarrhea improves but should give lactose-free milk or maybe soybean milk.

How can I prevent AGE?
  • Frequent hand washing with soap after nappy change, before preparing for foods
  • Keep your child who has AGE away from other children
  • Sterilise and wash nappies of children with AGE separately
  • Teach your child the proper hand washing technique
  • Cook all meat thoroughly before serving to children

When should you seek medical help?
  • Your baby is <>
  • Your child keeps vomiting, (especially if bright green or brown) and cannot keep fluids
  • Your child continues to have many watery motions a day
  • Your child's motion contains blood
  • Your child has on-going tummy pains
  • Your child has a persistent high fever (above 38ÂșC)
  • You are concerned that your child is not getting better
  • Your child is passing less urine than normally


Uncle Lee said...

Hello Lady, I just learned something today, but sure a real tongue twister trying to pronounce the name, let alone spell it.
Regret to read your kids had that problems.
Here's wishing they have recovered fully.

You keep well and have a nice day, and keep a song in your heart, Lee.

mommy to chumsy said...

thanks for posting this information :)

Cynthia said...

thanks for the information.. I believe it will come handy for other mummies.. :D

Blog's author said...

Hi Uncle Lee,

Thanks for dropping by.

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