'The secret weapon against diarrohea is plenty of water', said Minister Uys during a visit to the Delft Community Health Centre. 'Parents of young children must wash their hands with soap and water a few times per day and if their children have diarrohea then (drinking) lots of water would be just the right medicine', said Uys.
Symptoms of diarrohea include:
- Loose stools
- Passing of a little urine
- High body temperature
- Children who refuse the breast or take the bottle poorly
Uys said that during the warm summer months and especially during February and March, the prevalence of diarrohea is much higher than other times and parents must be vigilant about their children's condition. He said that the health facilities and trained staff in the Western Cape is ready and on stand-by to deal with problem cases fast and effectively. He has also urged parents to take their children immediately to the nearest clinic if they suspect them to have diarrohea.
Every time when a child vomits or has a loose stool then they lose plenty of water and essential salts and minerals. They can die if not treated in time with the sufficient in-take of water, said Minister Uys.
The prevalence of diarrohea is higher in places with poor sanitation facilities and unhygienic drinking water. The Minister urged local government authorities to meet their obligations to the communities as far as infrastructure is concerned.
Minister Pierre Uys said that apart from the medical readiness of his staff, they are also conducting an awareness campaign with increased focus on places such as Delft, Bloekombos, Wallacedene and Khayelitsha. The awareness campaign includes the distribution of pamphlets, information sessions to mothers at clinics and radio adverts. In addition, hospitals during this time of the year make available more beds for diarrohea patients and our Red Cross Children's Hospital is ready to handle the more acute cases.
A simple, yet effective recipe for diarrohea is an easy sugar-salt solution:
- Wash your hands and holder with soap and water
- 1 Litre clean water
- 8 teaspoons of sugar
- Half a teaspoon of salt
- Mix until the sugar and salt has dissolved
- Give the sick child the solution as often as possible
- Give the solution as soon as the child shows any symptoms
Minister Uys said that parents do not have to give medicines to stop diarrohea but can keep their children out of the health facilities if they applied these very simple prescriptions.