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Western Cape gives warnings of increase in diarrhea in small children.

Western Cape gives warnings of increase in diarrhea in small children.

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Western Cape gives warnings of increase in diarrhea in small children.—

The Western Cape Health Department says more children have presented with diarrhoea at the province’s hospitals.

The recent weather patterns have been consistently erratic and the extremely hot weather can be intolerable. But young children often bear the brunt of it.

“The very hot conditions experienced in many parts of the Western Cape has led to a noticeable increase in the number of children brought to Western Cape Health’s facilities with symptoms like diarrhoea, dehydration, and pneumonia,” said provincial health department in a statement.

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Annually, between November and March, there is a spike in children treated for diarrhoea disease.

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As we enter February (usually the hottest month), the department is advising adults to be extra watchful over children.

“When your child has a runny tummy he/she may have diarrhoea. Unclean hands can spread viruses that cause diarrhoea,” said the department.

During hot summer days, food can easily get spoilt. If eaten, this can also cause diarrhoea, which can cause dehydration.

Children also tend to dehydrate very quickly, which can quickly become life-threatening.

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Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital associate professor Heloise Buys says among the many reasons why diarrhoea disease affects young children more seriously, is the fact that babies and young infants are completely dependent on their caregivers and mothers to feed them and to give them all the fluids they need.

“They often can’t verbalise that they are thirsty. Also, because they are so much smaller than adults, losing a small amount of fluid in their watery stools is a big deal,” said Buys, who is also the Head of Clinical Unit Ambulatory and Emergency.

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“They become dehydrated more easily or go into shock.

“Take the sign of the first loose stool seriously and immediately start with ‘replacement Oral Rehydration Solution’,” says Buys.

Gale Goeieman of Tulbagh Clinic agrees on the importance of quickly acting to avoid dehydration.

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