Enteritis in children.

Childhood enteritis spreads easily, especially in young children and infants, and it can also cause dehydration in children under six months of age.

Children’s enteritis arises from an intestinal infection within the digestive tract by many different germs, causing vomiting and diarrhea that can last for several days.

The most common causes of gastroenteritis in children are viruses, bacteria, food poisoning, and intestinal parasites, as well as rotavirus and adenovirus.


Although it’s commonly called stomach flu, gastroenteritis isn’t the same as influenza. Real flu (influenza) affects only your respiratory system — your nose, throat and lungs. Gastroenteritis, on the other hand, attacks your intestines, causing signs and symptoms, such as:

▪️Watery, usually nonbloody diarrhea — bloody diarrhea usually means you have a different, more severe infection.

▪️ Abdominal cramps and pain.

▪️ Nausea, vomiting or both.

▪️ Occasional muscle aches or headache.

▪️ Low-grade fever.

Depending on the cause, viral gastroenteritis symptoms may appear within one to three days after you’re infected and can range from mild to severe. Symptoms usually last just a day or two, but occasionally they may persist as long as 10 days.

Because the symptoms are similar, it’s easy to confuse viral diarrhea with diarrhea caused by bacteria, such as Clostridium difficile, salmonella and E. coli, or parasites, such as giardia.

Because the symptoms are similar, it’s easy to confuse viral diarrhea with diarrhea caused by bacteria, such as Clostridium difficile, salmonella and E. coli, or parasites, such as giardia.

The most prominent signs that a child is dehydrated as a result of fluid loss during vomiting and diarrhea:

▪️dry mouth and tongue.

▪️ Cold hands and feet.

▪️ Excessive sleep unusual and feeling emaciated.

▪️ Dryness of the baby’s diapers and lack of urination.

▪️ sunken eyes.

Causes of enteritis in children.

There are many causes of enteritis in children, including:

1. Viral enteritis in children.

Viruses are the primary cause of enteritis in children, as they are highly contagious and can spread easily among children in care centers, nurseries, and schools. Viral enteritis in children usually lasts for three days.

We mention some of them:

▪️Norovirus: It is the most common inflammatory virus in children and is called the winter vomit bug, although it can infect children at any time of the year. It is highly contagious and causes severe and sudden vomiting.

▪️ Rotavirus: It is very common in young children before the routine vaccination of the virus.

▪️ Adenovirus: It affects infants and young children and causes fever, vomiting, and severe diarrhea.

▪️ Astrovirus: It is less common and causes diarrhea, and vomiting is uncommon.

2. Bacterial enteritis in children.

In children, bacterial enteritis is transmitted through food and drink contaminated with bacteria such as Escherichia coli and salmonella, and childhood enteritis caused by bacteria is called food poisoning.

The bacteria release toxins that cause intestinal cramps and vomiting hours after eating contaminated food and drink.

3. Parasitic enteritis in children.

Many parasites cause intestinal inflammation, such as Giardia and Cryptosporidium, transmitted through contaminated water and contact with infected people.


The best way to prevent the spread of intestinal infections is to follow these precautions:

1. Get your child vaccinated.

A vaccine against gastroenteritis caused by the rotavirus is available in some countries, including the United States. Given to children in the first year of life, the vaccine appears to be effective in preventing severe symptoms of this illness.

2. Wash your hands thoroughly.

And make sure your children do, too. If your children are older, teach them to wash their hands, especially after using the toilet.

3. Keep your distance.

Avoid close contact with anyone who has the virus, if possible.

4. Disinfect hard surfaces.

If someone in your home has viral gastroenteritis, disinfect hard surfaces, such as counters, faucets and doorknobs.


If you suspect gastroenteritis in your child:

▪️Allow your child to rest.

▪️ When your child’s vomiting stops, begin to offer small amounts of an oral rehydration solution (CeraLyte, Enfalyte, Pedialyte). Don’t use only water or only apple juice. Drinking fluids too quickly can worsen the nausea and vomiting, so try to give small frequent sips over a couple of hours, instead of drinking a large amount at once. Try using a water dropper of rehydration solution instead of a bottle or cup.

▪️ Gradually introduce bland, easy-to-digest foods, such as toast, rice, bananas and potatoes.

▪️ Avoid giving your child full-fat dairy products, such as whole milk and ice cream, and sugary foods, such as sodas and candy. These can make diarrhea worse.

▪️ If you’re breast-feeding, let your baby nurse.

▪️ If your baby is bottle-fed, offer a small amount of an oral rehydration solution or regular formula.

Seek medical attention if your child:

▪️Becomes unusually drowsy.

▪️ Vomits frequently or vomits blood.

▪️ Has bloody diarrhea.

▪️ Shows signs of dehydration, such as dry mouth and skin, marked thirst, sunken eyes, or crying without tears. In an infant, be alert to the soft spot on the top of the head becoming sunken and to diapers that remain dry for more than three hours.

▪️ Is an infant and has a fever.

▪️ Is older than three months of age and has a fever of 102 F (39 C) or more.

Reference :

التهاب الأمعاء عند الأطفال/

التهابات المعدة والأمعاء الإسعافات الأولية /

التهاب المعدة والأمعاء الفيروسي/

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