A Paediatrician, Dr Jibike Ikuerowo, on Thursday advised mothers whose babies suffered from diarrhoea, to give their children proper medication instead of resorting to teething mixture.
Ikuerowo of the Department of Paediatrics, Gbagada General Hospital, Lagos, gave the advice in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Lagos.
According to her, Diarrhoea is one of the childhood diseases with high mortality rate, particularly in children less than five years of age.
The World Health Organisation says: “Diarrhoea disease is the second leading cause of death in children under five years old, and is responsible for killing around 525 000 children every year.
“Diarrhoea can last several days, and can leave the body without the water and salts that are necessary for survival.’’
Ikuerowo said that emphasis was being placed on the childhood disease because when children are ill, particularly when they have diarrhoea, mothers don’t take the right steps needed to prevent them from having complications.
She said: “This is because most mothers link diarrhoea to teething; teething is a normal thing that should not cause illness in children.
“As a result of this, they give wrong medications such as teething powder or mixture to the child instead of the right treatment.
“The right treatment for diarrhoea, which should actually start at home, is the Oral Rehydration Solution.
“Also, WHO has said that oral zinc should be added for all children suffering from diarrhoea.
“Zinc is an important component in the treatment of diarrhea in children which helps to shorten the period of diarrhoea diseases in them.’’
She described diarrhoea as the passage of watery stool and the frequency of stooling was increased when there was diarrhoea, not when teething begins.
Ikuerowo told NAN that diarrhoea was the body’s way of ridding itself of germs, saying that most occurrences lasted a few days to a week.
She said that diarrhoea in children often comes with fever, nausea, vomiting, cramps and dehydration.
The paediatrician listed infection, food poisoning, irritable bowel diseases, food allergies and others as the most common reasons children suffer diarrhoea.
The expert advised mothers to take advantage of proper personal hygiene by ensuring that they regularly wash their hands whenever they wanted to prepare food for their babies.
She said: “This advice also goes to women who have just been delivered of their babies.
“Some of them, because they feel the baby is newborn his faeces is clean; so after they cleaned his buttocks, it does not matter to them whether to wash hands or not.
“This is wrong; a newborn faeces is not clean, and as such hand washing is important so that the baby can be free from chronic infection.’’