Your Childs Tummy Ache Can Be Serious!

By: Jim DeSantis

It's a challenge for us and the doctor to find out the cause of those frustrating tummy aches. Sometimes the pain requires some common sense. Other times it can be an emergency. The causes can be related to food, infections, poisoning, insect bites, and the list goes on.

Bacteria and viruses are infections that should conern you most. Gastroenteritis and stomach flu are some of the examples of infections that can cause stomach aches. Gastroenteritis is the inflammation and irritation of stomach and the gastrointestinal passage. Stomach pain due to viral infections usually go away quickly, but bacterial infections demand antibiotics. In both the cases, some children recover quickly. If recovery includes diarrhea, your child should be given plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration.

Food related stomach aches can be caused because of food poisoning, gas production, excess food ingestion and food allergies. Problems caused by food poisoning can be extreme or minor depending on the source of the poisoning. The national news gives us plenty of information, some scary, some helpful that we must wade through for what fits our situation at the moment.

Symptoms of food poisoning are vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and nausea. Usually these symptoms surface within two days of consumption of contaminated food. Depending on the severity - chill, fever, bloody stools, or damage to the nervous system can follow. Any suspicion of food poisoning should be dealt with immediately by a call to your family doctor or a visit to a hospital emergency room.

Hundreds of diseases are known to be transmitted via food. Food can be poisoned because of toxic agents or infective agents. Infective agents are parasites, bacteria, and viruses. Toxic agents are uncooked food, exotic foods, and poisonous mushrooms, for example. Food can get contaminated because of handling by unclean workers at the local restaurant, too. Remember the recent meat and lettuce stories?

Going out to eat is another area of possible contamination. You should check your local Health Agency to determine the record of any establishment you want to visit for the first time, especially if it is newly opened.

Particular foods can cause tummy irritation, such as diary products which can expose lactose intolerance for the first time. If your child is allergic to food or drinks containing dairy products, swallowing even a small amount can cause vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, cramping, and skin rash. These items are harmless for most of us but for our little ones thet can cause, allergic reactions known as hypersensitivity reaction. Sometimes the symptoms can be life threatening and are known as anaphylactic shock or anaphylaxis. Again, call your doctor or visit an emergency room immediately.

Poisoning can also be due to overdose of medicines which, do I need to say it, you should keep in a secure place away from your children. The same is true for non-food stuffs like common household chemicals. Keep them safely locked away. Inexpensive drawer and door latches can be purchased almost anywhere, even online.

Insect bites, such as spider bites and wasp stings, can also lead to pain in the abdomen due to an allergic reaction. It can be accompanied with muscle cramps, weakness, nausea, tremor, vomiting and can cause dizziness, fainting, respiratory problems, and chest pain, increases in heart rate and blood pressure level. These are all dangerous warning flags that should be heeded.

In very rare cases, especially among children, tummy pain can be a sign of appendicitis. If this happens, your child will have a higher rate of complications and should be immediately rushed to the hospital. The pain starts slowly in the abdomen, specifically near the belly button. The pain shifts slowly to the right side of the lower abdomen within a time period spanning twenty four hours. Clear symptoms are abdominal pain, vomiting, nausea, fever and loss of appetite.

Diabetes can also be a reason for acute tummy pain. Small children usually curl up, cry, or quietly express pain through facial expressions. Your child may be reluctant to talk about the pain, but you should press to get a clear explanation of the problem. Along with close monitoring of the symptoms, studying the location of pain, pain duration, nature of vomiting, and urinary problems will help you decide the next course of action. Your pediatrician should be consulted and they may refer to a gastroenterologist just to be on the safe side.

Help your child to relax during an episode. You should keep calm, too! Caressing your child and speaking to them in a soothing voice are a big help towards easing the pain until professional intervention is reached.

Above all, you need to keep your wits about you as you handle the situation. Don't panic. Panic wastes valuable time, clouds your judgement and, most of all, frightens your little loved one.

Jim DeSantis
Proud Grandfather


Top Searches on
Parenting
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 

» More on Parenting