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Intestinal infection in children: symptoms, signs and treatment

The symptoms and treatment of intestinal infections in children are closely interrelated. The severity of symptoms of intoxication in the child's stronger because of the peculiarities of the functioning of many vital systems. In children, increased vascular permeability, which contributes to the rapid spread of infectious pathogens. The immune system of babies are not yet fully formed, so they are powerless in the face of pathogenic viruses and bacteria. Besides, children do not always follow the rules of personal hygiene, can't resist the temptation to eat the berries straight from the Bush.

Characteristic features of the disease

Intestinal infection is the pathology occurring due to progression of the inflammatory process, localized in the mucosa of the digestive system. The clinical picture of intoxication in children are similar to symptoms of gastritis, gastroduodenitis, colitis or enteritis. Intestinal infection after penetration into the organism of the child of pathogenic microbes and viruses are anaerobic and aerobic bacteria and protozoa. The disease is accompanied by disruption of the gastrointestinal tract, so the main symptom of poisoning is getting diarrhea.

The term "intestinal infection" brings together more than 25 types of infectious pathologies provoking digestive disorders, extensive intoxication. When the diagnosis of the disease in young children, doctors carried out the differentiation of poisoning with poisons of animal and vegetable origin, drugs, household chemicals.

Common symptoms depend on the type of pathogen, signs of intestinal infection in child:

  • nausea, vomiting, diarrhea;
  • fatigue;
  • the increase in temperature.

But there are specific signs that occur after infection with certain viruses and bacteria. Most often, intestinal infections affects children and adults with chronic or systemic diseases. For these categories of patients of gastroenterology is characterized by low resistance to the causative agents of respiratory and gastrointestinal pathologies.

With the onset of warm time of the year the number of doctor visits for parents with children increased tenfold. Early fruits and vegetables, play in the sandbox, bathing in water bodies cause penetration into the child's body to infectious agents. Summer child care institutions are often closed for quarantine because of the epidemic of intestinal diseases. Children share not only toys and books, but pathogens.

Even after full treatment in the newborn for several months there may be a violation of the digestive system: anorexia, nausea, flatulence. This is residual effects of the transferred intestinal infections, which can be eliminated by compliance with sparing diet and course taking vitamin complexes with trace elements.

Problems with the digestion of food in children occur as a result of damage to epithelial cells of the stomach and intestines. But the kids body has an increased ability to regenerate tissue, so infection does not cause irreversible effects. After recovery of the mucosa of the gastrointestinal tract signs of indigestion will come to naught. During the period of rehabilitation should be carefully handle the products at home before cooking to prevent re-infection. Secondary penetration of an infectious agent in a weakened the body may trigger complications of chronic diseases, cause significant intoxication.

Classification of intestinal infections

Baby intestinal infection in the majority of cases present acutely, chronic form of the disease is not diagnosed. Symptoms all at the same time, and after the treatment disappear. Typical of other pathologies the condition when a remission alternate with recurrences, in the case of intestinal infection is absent. If time was not carried out antibiotic therapy, the patient dies from dehydration.

Gastroenterologists and toxicologists use this classification of the disease:

  • Pathogenic. Needed to diagnose intestinal infections, depending on the kind of pathogen, and to perform adequate therapy with antibiotics, antiviral and antimicrobial drugs.
  • Etiologic. Aimed at determining the cause of the infection and the study of processes occurring in the human body during the course of the disease, and determine the types of viruses, bacteria and protozoa.

For ease of determining agents of inflammation and intoxication experts identify the following types of enteric infections in children:

  • Bacterial: staphylococcal poisoning, salmonellosis, E. coli, botulism, typhoid fever.
  • Viral: rotavirus, adenovirus, enterovirus.
  • Protozoa: giardiasis, amebiasis.

Infection in the intestine of bacterial etiology in children developing under the action of bacteria. They can be pathogenic or belong to conditionally pathogenic microflora of the intestine. The latter species constantly inhabits the human body, not causing him the slightest harm. But under the influence of precipitating factors bacteria aktiviziruyutsya andbegin to multiply, poisoning the cells and tissues with their waste products, causing intoxication. Such microorganisms include:

Use of products, contamination by Staphylococcus, leads to increased activity of this species living in the gut. Principal of pathogenic microbes:

  • Vibrio cholerae;
  • the causative agent of typhoid fever.

These bacteria are foreign to the human body and get into the gastrointestinal tract only from the environment. Infectious agents of bacterial origin are transmitted from person to person through everyday life.

Viral intestinal infection in children is more dangerous because it can spread through airborne droplets and becomes the source of the epidemic in a close group (school class or kindergarten group).

After full recovery, children remain carriers for few days. If the child was diagnosed with viral intoxication, after intestinal infection stomach hurts, and he identifies pathogens into the environment during the month. This feature should be considered during the rehabilitation period. Family members should not use the same utensils or towels with recovered children about three weeks.

How do you get an intestinal infection

The main source of pathogens is the infected person who identifies viruses and bacteria into the environment with saliva, exhaled in pairs, with feces and urine. The majority of virus carriers and of carriers, there are no visible signs of the disease. Regardless of the length of the incubation period, people are the source of infection immediately after their penetration into the gastrointestinal tract pathogens.

It is difficult for children to protect themselves from the disease even in the presence of high resistance. Certain bacterial strains provoke the intoxication of the infant with a strong immune system that is not prone to recurrence of respiratory infections.

The causative agents of salmonellosis, typhoid fever, or giardiasis penetrate into the gastrointestinal tract of children in the following ways:

  • Airborne. Infection occurs through contact with a carrier of infectious agents. They stand out when you sneeze, a strong cough or during a conversation. Getting on the skin or mucous membranes of the baby, the viruses and germs long retain their vitality and over time through the mouth or nasal cavity penetrate into the organs of the digestive system, causing vomiting and diarrhea.
  • Contact-household. This route of infection the most characteristic for pathogenic bacteria. Pathogens are transmitted to children by shaking hands or by touching objects which been touched bacillicarrier. It can be gadgets, toys, books. Family sources of infection become hygiene items, switches, remote controls, door handles.
  • Oral-fecal. Kids can get sick by touching the objects on the surface which were microscopic particles of feces of infected person or bacillicarriers. The feces of an infected person, neglecting the measures of personal hygiene, can get into wastewater. When bathing in the river, pond or lake on your baby's skin are causative agents of intestinal infections. If in this water to wash vegetables or fruits are not subjected to further heat treatment, and then eat, it is impossible to avoid infection.
  • Water. The source of infection is getting water from wells or stagnant water, which is used without boiling. Sometimes intestinal infections take the epidemic is rapidly spreading among the population. This usually happens when you use insufficient amounts of disinfectant on water treatment stations.

To be infected by pathogenic microorganisms is possible even when consuming heat-processed and fresh products. If there was a fly or other crawling insects that are vectors of pathogens, then food can remain cholera Vibrio or Staphylococcus aureus.

Most often, bacterial intestinal infection, the child develops by eating unwashed fruits and vegetables. In warm time of the year sources of intoxication are:

  • dairy products and prepared food: soups, porridges, creams, confectionery, ice cream;
  • eggs and fresh cooked omelettes;
  • meat, sausages and minced meat;
  • fish and seafood.

The spread of enteric infections contributes to the improper storage of food, lack of heat treatment, use of products with expired shelf life. The baby is hard to resist and not to eat an Apple or a peach just plucked from a tree. They usually "forget" about the need to wash fruit, and at the same time and hands.

In the spring, fall or summer bacteria and viruses thrive in favorable environments. Some strains of pathogenic micro-organisms remain active during prolonged freezing and high temperature. To destroy the outer wall of bacterial cells, sometimes you want to boil for several minutes. The causative agents of botulism enter the body of children when the use of homemade pickles, vegetables and mushroomswhich has not previously aterials. This disease is especially dangerous for kids under 1 year its complications and rapid increase in symptoms.

Intestinal infection-prone children with a weak immune system, so in the warmer time of the year parents should carefully monitor their diet. After recovery, the body's resistance one-year-old child to pathogenic agents is sharply reduced, which can lead to the emergence of chronic diseases of the gastrointestinal tract and urinary system.

So long awaited and planned trip to the sea is often marred by outbreaks of intestinal infections. Warm water and hot sand is an ideal environment for reproduction pathogenic bacteria and viruses. If here to add on more frustration in some citizens the rules of personal hygiene or the lack of toilet stalls on the shore, it is not surprising that many families spend their holidays in hotel rooms.


After the penetration of pathogens of intestinal infections in the gastrointestinal tract of children they food or water are distributed to all parts of the digestive system. The immune system of young children are not yet fully formed, and the permeability of their blood vessels is much higher than that of an adult. Besides, the mucous membrane of the stomach produces inadequate amounts of digestive enzymes and hydrochloric acid for the destruction of viruses and bacteria.

Pathogens enter the small intestine, where they begin to proliferate, causing tissue inflammation and extensive poisoning with their waste products. The blood stream toxic compounds spread throughout the body, helping to reduce the functional activity of the urinary system and the liver.

In the lumen of the small intestine viruses and bacteria behave differently:

  • Shigella, Salmonella and viruses damage the epithelial cells form multiple infectious foci and cause of the inflammatory process. In children, this condition appears in the development of symptoms of food poisoning: nausea, vomiting, diarrhea.
  • Escherichia coli and Vibrio cholerae are active against microorganisms inhabiting the gut. Secreted toxins destroy the beneficial bacteria that trigger dysbiosis and malabsorption of biologically active substances, which include most water - and fat-soluble vitamins. Significantly damaged the mucosa of the intestinal wall.
  • Staphylococcus aureus altamente food, so the body of children penetrate not only the pathogenic viruses and bacteria, but they have produced enterotoxins. For intestinal infections caused by these pathogens is characterized by rapid development of symptoms of food poisoning, as the incubation period is short.

Regardless of the principle effects of viruses and bacteria on the human body all pathogens destroy the cells of the intestinal mucosa, promote the spread of the inflammatory process in healthy tissue. The totality of the damage leads to disruption of all parts of the digestive system including the stomach. The main symptom of any intestinal viral infection is diarrhea with liquid stools, the body tries to get rid of pathogenic microbes.

Other symptoms of intoxication: vomiting, weakness, bloating, fever, dry mucous membranes and skin may occur not always. For certain types of intestinal infections is characterized by the simultaneous development of extensive symptoms of food intoxication. The severity of signs of poisoning depends on the age of the child and his susceptibility to pathogens pathological process.

The clinical picture

Depending on the kind of pathogen the incubation period of acute intestinal infections lasts from 2-3 hours to several days. The main clinic of the inflammatory process, dehydration, lesions of the gastro-intestinal tract and Central nervous system. Signs of the digestive system are manifested at the same time, but over time they are joined by specific symptoms characteristic of typhoid fever, salmonellosis or cholera.

What starts as an intestinal infection, what will be its duration, is determined by the place of reproduction of microorganisms. Some viruses and protozoa penetrate directly into the intestine, which determines the prevalence of symptoms of enteritis. If the pathogens are retained in the stomach, it damaged mucosa, and the clinical picture is dominated by symptoms of acute forms of gastritis.

Intestinal infection in infants is very difficult due to the imperfections of the biological filters of the body. It is especially dangerous for a toddler rapidly developing dehydration, which can be eliminated only in a hospital. Restoration of water-salt balance is controlled by highly qualified medical personnel.

Depending on how visible the clinic of intestinal infections, gastroenterologists klassificeret the course of the inflammatory process:

  • Gastritis. Symptoms characteristic of poisoning by foods that have been contamination of Staphylococcus aureus. In children under years develops severe intoxication: vomiting, diarrhea, increasedtemperature.
  • Enteritis. Signs of intestinal infections arise after penetration of rotaviruses and Salmonella in the small intestine. The main pathological symptom in children is foamy loose stools of greenish colour with a high content of mucus.
  • Colitis. In children 2 years of age and older, the causative agent of dysentery strikes a thick intestine. The child appear cutting painful spasms in the abdomen, radiating to the sides. Frequent urge to defecate, but most often they come about as due to the lack of appetite in the gastrointestinal tract and no food. Only produce a small amount of liquid stool with admixtures of fresh blood and mucus.
  • Gastroenteritis. The clinical picture of intestinal infection combines symptoms of catarrhal gastritis and inflammation of the intestinal mucosa. Children offer frequent vomiting, diarrhea, flatulence, bloating. The baby is constantly sleepy, he becomes apathetic, lethargic.
  • Enterocolitis. The symptoms of enteritis are combined with signs of defeat of colon. The child is constantly asking to use the toilet, but the urge to defecate is false. Sometimes a negligible amount of liquid stool with foul smell, mucus and blood.
  • Gastroenterocolitis. For intestinal infection is characterized by the manifestation of all the possible negative symptoms. Pathogens provoke damage to the mucous membranes of the digestive tract. Kids who are 3 years and less, the disease is especially severe and requires urgent medical intervention. Children suffer from painful vomiting, paroxysmal pain in the epigastric region and lower abdomen.

Regardless of the type of the pathogen allocated to them toxic compounds reduce the functional activity of the Central nervous system. Children may experience the following symptoms of acute intestinal infection:

  • dizziness, headache, localized in the temples and the nape;
  • temperature rise above 40 °C, fever, chills, cold sweat;
  • sleepiness, decrease in motor activity;
  • increased anxiety, restlessness, emotional instability;
  • pale skin, cyanosis of nasolabial triangle;
  • dry mucous membranes and epidermis.

In severe intoxication in children, there is confusion, incoordination fainting. Hyperthermia provoking the appearance of hallucinations, incoherent speech, delirium, tremor of the upper and lower extremities.

Disorder of the Central and autonomic nervous system leads to a sharp decrease in blood pressure. Children who are not yet 4 years old, hands and feet become cold, decreased heart rate. Against this background, problems with breathing, the baby there is a feeling of lack of air, shortness of breath. Toxic compounds irritate the vomiting center in the brain – children are always sick.

There is a significant loss of fluid with vomiting and diarrhea. Frequent urination toddler can't swallow water. Together with the liquid from organism necessary for the functioning of all vital systems microelements and biologically active substances. Urination are becoming rare and scarce, urine change color and smell, it appears the blood clots and flocculent precipitate.

The first characteristic symptoms of dehydration include:

  • dry skin;
  • thirst;
  • lack of appetite;
  • the reduction of the volume discharge of urine.

If the treatment of intestinal infections in children was conducted at the initial stage, the symptoms of dehydration is rapidly growing:

  • sink your eyeballs;
  • features;
  • losing weight;
  • develops a state of shock.

The child may not show all of the above symptoms of inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract. The severity of the clinical picture depends on the following factors:

  • amount penetrated into the body of pathogens;
  • age;
  • the presence of diseases in anamnesis;
  • the body's resistance to viruses and bacteria;
  • the adequacy of the medical intervention;
  • the quality of diagnosis.

Pathogens quickly destroy the beneficial intestinal flora. After a full recovery it is a long recovery drugs.

Diagnosis and treatment

At the initial stage of diagnosis, the gastroenterologist assesses the state of children, listens to the complaints of their parents. Necessarily conducted laboratory studies of blood, urine, vomit and feces. To determine than to treat the child, the biological sample is placed in a nutrient medium, and then study the quantity and quality of the resulting colonies. The test results help to determine the species of the causative agent of enteric infections and its sensitivity to antibiotics.

Biochemical studies sometimes take a few days, and the condition of children is deteriorating rapidly. Therefore, treatment begins immediately with the acceptance of antimicrobials broad-spectrum.

After identifying the microorganism that caused intestinal infection, the child is treated with antiviral medications, if the disease is caused by adenoviruses or rotaviruses. Upon detection of Salmonella, Staphylococcus aureus or choleraVibrio is antibiotic therapy. To eliminate dangerous symptoms of dehydration is used a cure for intestinal infections for children, complementary stocks of liquid and mineral salts in the body.

The treatment of bacterial and viral pathologies apply:

  • diuretics;
  • probiotics and prebiotics;
  • sorbents;
  • vitamins and minerals;
  • enzymatic preparations;
  • painkillers;
  • antispasmodics;
  • Immunostimulants and immunomodulators.

After recovery, the child requires a long rehabilitation period. At this time, from the diet of children should be completely excluded fatty meats and fish, salty and rich spices products. It is impossible to give a sweet sodas.

When the first symptoms of intestinal infection before the parents should not be a problem – what to do, what medicine to give the baby. Need to immediately call an ambulance for hospitalization of the child. This rule is especially important when infection of newborns and infants.

Prevention of intestinal infections

All people at least once in life ill with intestinal infections, as a rule, it has happened to them in childhood. We need to teach kids the rules of personal hygiene: wash hands before eating and after visiting the toilet, not to eat berries from the Bush. Animals often become carriers of diseases, therefore it is not necessary for the walks to play with stray cats and dogs.

Prevention of acute intestinal infections is the proper storage and handling of food. Cannot be used for cooking eggs, meat or milk with expired. In the warmer time of year you need to expose all the products are long thermal processing. In summer it is better not to risk it – not to eat food outside the home, in cafes or eateries. If intestinal infection was diagnosed in one family member, you should allocate a separate bowl and towel. And after each visit to the toilet the toilet or potty baby should be treated with disinfectant.