Season Changing Bugs

Welcome to a lovely weekend!

In clinic this week, I couldn’t help but notice the sharp increase in gastro/Rota/Nora virus cases coming through my doors. This is (unfortunately) an illness I’ve had to work with in my own family a few times due to the number of operations my daughter had as a baby – she contracted it without fail every time she was recovering in her post operative ward.

Gastro virus is not one to mess around with - dehydration is the paramount concern here especially with babies, young children but not limited to adults. The simple act of purging the offensive virus by way of vomiting and diarrhea is the body’s way of eliminating it as quickly as possible, so the aim in my experience is to manage the balance between that and supporting hydration. Babies will lose weight during a bout of gastro so every mouthful counts in what you put back in. Signs that this virus may be present are:

  • Violent or mild abdominal cramping which is worse after eating
  • Extremely pungent gas and/or bowel motions that are explosive, pale and watery
  • Increase in thirst that is unquenchable
  • Often normal appetite but food/milk is vomited immediately or over an hour later
  • Fever may or may not be present

In babies, young children and the elderly or chronically ill – it is vital that you also seek medical advice if vomiting and diarrhoea are continuous. I do support safe home management however, as often during a bout of this, it is easy to contract it by way of exposure to your own child and others. Here’s what I recommend:
Double up the doses of high numbers of probiotics
Keep hydrated with electrolyte formulas – even if that is all that is kept down.  Make sure they are taken in small regular sips.
Don’t force food in solid form unless it is well tolerated.
Consider a glutamine powder that also contains aloe vera and pre/probiotics to help keep leakiness in the gut at bay
Consider homoepathic remedies (Arsenicum Album, Colocynthis, Aethusa and Podophyllum are commonly prescribed to support all symptoms and the body’s attempts to complete the healing)
Avoid high intake of fruit juices – go for cloudy apple, pear and carrot juice.  Better still a cucumber, carrot, lemon and ginger blend.
Avoid all dairy for at least 3 weeks after the diarrhoea has ceased due to possible development of lactose intolerance until the gut has revitalized.
Remember – Rota virus often also follows with a respiratory infection after the gastrointestinal symptoms cease, so prepare to support that stage with immune and upper respiratory remedies around 10 days to 3 weeks later.