What Is Acute Gastroenteritis In Children?

What Is Acute Gastroenteritis In Children?

Table of Contents

Gastroenteritis is an intestinal infection that causes diarrhea and vomiting in children. In many people, diarrhea occurs only for one day, sometimes up to 10 days. Prolonged diarrhea in children causes severe dehydration, which is especially dangerous in infants and young children. Statistics show that all children under 5 get a viral gastroenteritis infection at least once.

Gastroenteritis In Children 03

What is acute gastroenteritis in children?

Gastroenteritis in children is inflammation in the stomach and intestines that causes diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, and other symptoms of digestive discomfort. In industrialized countries, the most common causes of gastroenteritis in children are viruses, bacteria (food poisoning), and intestinal parasites.

Gastroenteritis symptoms ( Signs never lie )

Gastroenteritis can be classified into three categories based on the severity of symptoms: mild, moderate, and severe.

  1. Mild gastroenteritis: Symptoms may include mild abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea in children under 5.
  2. Moderate gastroenteritis: Symptoms may include persistent vomiting, diarrhea, and dehydration in children under the age of 5.
  3.  Acute gastroenteritis: Children under five with signs of dehydration, such as decreased urine output, dry mouth, and decreased activity, may be considered severe gastroenteritis and should be seen by a doctor immediately. Severe gastroenteritis can be life-threatening and may require hospitalization to receive fluids and medications.



What causes gastroenteritis in children?

  • Types of gastroenteritis

    • Gastroenteritis in children – viral.

What virus causes gastroenteritis in children?

In all healthy children, viral infections of the digestive system are often the cause of mild gastroenteritis. 

Related: “Symptoms Of A Failing Liver

The most common viral causes of gastroenteritis in children include rotaviruses, adenoviruses, enteroviruses, astroviruses, and noroviruses. 

Rotaviruses mainly cause infectious diarrhea in children under five years of age. 

All viruses that cause gastroenteritis in children are spread through hands that have touched the feces of an infected person or surfaces contaminated with feces.

For this reason, young children just learning to observe hygiene are more susceptible to some form of gastroenteritis in children. 

They may touch a dirty diaper, forget to wash their hands after going to the bathroom, put their fingers in their mouths, chew their nails, or toys that other children touch with contaminated hands. Touch them and put them in your mouth.

Parents and nurses also cause gastroenteritis in children, especially if they do not wash their hands well with soap and water after changing the child’s diaper. 

In addition, adults with gastroenteritis can transmit viral infections to children, especially if they prepare the child’s food without washing their hands with soap and water. 

Some viruses that cause gastroenteritis in children may be found in water or food in areas with low sanitation.

Related: “Stages Of Cold In Babies

Gastroenteritis In Children
    • Gastroenteritis in children – bacterial.

Food that is not adequately prepared and stored can be a place for bacteria to grow, and these bacteria produce stimulating chemicals called toxins. 

If the child consumes food containing microbes, the symptoms of gastroenteritis in children appear due to the bacteria themselves or the toxins they produce. 

Related: “How Do You Know If Pneumonia Is Viral Or Bacterial?

In addition, certain types of invasive bacteria such as Campylobacter, Salmonella, or E. coli can cause more severe forms of food poisoning that cause symptoms such as high fever, severe digestive symptoms, and dehydration, even in healthy and robust children.

Related: “What Is The Difference Between Intermittent, Remittent, And Relapsing Fever?

high fever and Gastroenteritis
    • Gastroenteritis in children – intestinal parasites.

Intestinal parasites can be transmitted to children through contaminated hands, feces-contaminated surfaces such as toys, and contaminated water and food, and they may cause gastroenteritis in children. Giardia lamblia is a parasite that is the cause of giardiasis, the most common cause of parasitic gastroenteritis in children, especially those kept in nurseries.

Gastroenteritis In Children 02

Be aware of complications.

Gastroenteritis can lead to several complications, including:

  1. Dehydration: Children experiencing diarrhea or vomiting can become dehydrated as they lose fluids and electrolytes.
  2.  Electrolyte imbalances: Diarrhea and vomiting can lead to a loss of electrolytes and changes in fluid balance, which can affect heart function and other bodily processes.
  3. Nutritional deficiencies: Gastroenteritis can decrease appetite, leading to nutrient deficiency and poor nutrition.
  4. Malabsorption: Children with malabsorption can experience prolonged gastrointestinal symptoms, weight loss, and malnutrition.
  5. Sepsis: Gastroenteritis can lead to bacterial infections of the blood and other organs, which can be life-threatening.
  6.  Sickle cell disease: Children with sickle cell disease may experience more severe symptoms and complications from acute gastroenteritis.

Early diagnosis can help prevent these complications. Parents need to seek medical attention if their child shows symptoms of dehydration, persistent vomiting, or severe abdominal pain.

You may also be interested in “What Is The Root Of The Bulimia?

What causes gastroenteritis in children?

In general, children’s gastroenteritis is caused by different reasons. Usually, viruses, bacteria, bacterial toxins, parasites, chemicals, and some drugs can cause gastroenteritis in children. If your child has had gastroenteritis more than once, it may have different causes each time. The most important cause of gastroenteritis in children is rotavirus and adenovirus. If the cause of children’s gastroenteritis infection is bacteria, blood is usually seen in the child’s stool. Some of the causes of gastroenteritis infection in children are mentioned below.

The most important reasons for a child to get gastroenteritis are contact with an infected person, food poisoning, and consumption of contaminated water.

Gastroenteritis In Children 04
  • Contact with an infected person.

Viral gastroenteritis infection usually occurs in children and rarely occurs in adults. This disease is easily transmitted to a child through contact with an infected person and using the personal belongings of a person infected with the virus.

Related: “Contagious Bronchitis Spreads Faster Than Coronavirus!

  • food poisoning

This infection may also be caused by eating food contaminated with microbes. If the child’s food is contaminated with bacteria, the child will suffer from food poisoning and gastroenteritis.

Gastroenteritis In Children 03
  • Consumption of contaminated water

Another cause of children’s gastroenteritis infection is drinking water contaminated with bacteria and germs. This problem is usually widespread in countries with a low hygiene level.

  • Touching contaminated surfaces

Another way to transmit children’s gastroenteritis infection is by touching surfaces infected with viruses, bacteria, or parasites. When the child puts the contaminated hand in his mouth, the contamination will enter his body.

Gastroenteritis In Children 06

Can gastroenteritis become serious?

Gastroenteritis can indeed cause serious health problems, especially in young children.

Dehydration can cause seizures, kidney damage, and other complications, which can be life-threatening.

In addition, children with weakened immune systems, such as those with HIV/AIDS, are especially vulnerable to complications from gastroenteritis.

It’s essential to seek medical attention if a child shows signs of dehydration or other severe signs, as early diagnosis and treatment can prevent complications and improve outcomes.

Gastroenteritis In Children 03

How long does acute gastroenteritis last in children?

Most often, children’s gastroenteritis symptoms resolve within a few days. Because the child’s immune system usually treats the infection well. If the symptoms of children’s gastroenteritis are severe, it is necessary to be admitted to the hospital under a doctor’s supervision.

Most cases of diarrhea caused by mild gastroenteritis last 2 to 3 days without complications, but despite the disappearance of symptoms for up to a week, the child may sometimes have loose stools.

Vomiting usually lasts 1 to 2 days. This is the same for adults and children.

Gastroenteritis In Children 05


Symptoms of acute gastroenteritis are nausea, vomiting, and watery diarrhea. Dehydration is the most tense complication of this disease. This disease should continue for a few days, but you may need medical attention if symptoms persist or dehydration occurs.

Various reasons can cause vomiting and diarrhea. These include viruses, bacteria, parasites, medications, or medical conditions. Foods that are difficult to digest (such as many sweets) and undercooked meat or fish (raw or semi-raw) can also cause vomiting and diarrhea.

Share in :
Explore more

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Author and specialist

Dr. Majid Zahrabi,


  • Board Certified Neurosurgeon
  • DHA certificate holder
  • Plantation certificate holder, France
  • Certified holder of Discogol, France
  • A pioneer in the non-surgical treatment of disc herniation in the Middle East and CIS countries.
  • Under the training and coaching of Professor Jacques Theron (founder of Discogel Therapy) since 2008
  • More than 400 successful cervical and 1300 lumbar discogel injections
  • Trained and certified several neurosurgeons and spine surgeons in the Middle East and CIS countries for the treatment of Discogel
  • Strong belief in patient-centered care planning and participation
  • Neurosurgeon and spine surgeon at Imam Khomeini and Amir Mazandarani Hospital, Sari, Iran, with more than 430 surgeries annually, 2000-2011
  • Neurosurgeon and spine surgeon at Farmaniyeh, Nikan and Yas Sepid Hospital, Tehran, Iran, with more than 400 surgeries annually, 2011-2012
  • Neurosurgeon at Iranian Hospital, Dubai, 2022-2023
  • Since 2015, he has been working as a reference doctor for the treatment of intervertebral disc herniation with Discogel and has trained many doctors of spine-related specialties in various countries of the Middle East and CIS in person/practically and online.



  • Individual training sessions under the direct supervision of Professor Jacques Theron in Discogel treatment, 2008-2020
  • Training sessions under the supervision of Professor Thierry Boye on spinal implants, 2007
  • Participation and presentation in several national and international medical and neuro-spinal conferences
  • Board certificate by Iran Neurosurgery Board, 2001
  • Neurosurgery assistant training course, Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, Isfahan, Iran, 1996-2001 (In 2001, he graduated from Isfahan University of Medical Sciences with the first rank in the country.
  • His thesis the titled:The Application of human amniotic membrane in repair of dura matter in dogs.” ( It was happening for the first time in the world. )
  • General medical education, Tabriz University of Medical Sciences, Tabriz, Iran, 1984-1993


Published books:

  • CT scan of the brain for doctors
  • Etiology and treatment of painful spine disorders
  • Atlas of diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of spine disorders
  • The most common mistakes in the treatment of spinal disorders
  • Reading brain CT scan in simple language (3rd place in the book of the year)
  • Treatment of head and spine injuries

Publications and articles:

  • Bacteriostatic and bactericidal effects of DISCOGEL® (https://www.researchgate.net/)
  • Muscle recovery, reduction of pain, and improvement of movement strategies in patients with lumbar discopathy after injection of Discogel.
  • The article on the initial results of the treatment of intervertebral disc herniation with discogel injection, which won the second-best poster rank at the Pan Arab International Congress of Interventional Radiology (March 14-16, 2015) and was accepted for presentation at the Chicago Pain Congress.
  • The use of human amniotic membrane in dura mater repair in dogs, a study for the first time in the world.



  • Annual Congress of Physiotherapists of Iran, 2019
  • Chicago International Pain Congress, 2019
  • Iran International Pain Management Congress, 2018
  • Annual Congress of Physiotherapists of Iran, 2018
  • Presentation of Discogel as an innovative solution for the treatment of spinal disc herniation in Armenia for orthopedic specialists and neurosurgeons, 2017
  • First Live Workshop and Seminar on Minimally Invasive Disc Therapy (DISCON), 2017
  • Presentation of Discogel as an innovative solution for the treatment of spinal disc herniation in Azerbaijan for orthopedic specialists and neurosurgeons, 2016
  • Seminar of Iranian official managers, 2016
  • Presentation of Discogel as an innovative solution for the treatment of spinal disc herniation in Tajikistan for orthopedic specialists and neurosurgeons, 2016
  • International Neurological Intervention Congress in Iran, 2014
  • Educational seminar for nurses on treatment approaches for head and spine trauma, 2014
  • Educational seminar for general practitioners on treatment approaches for head and spine trauma, 2014
  • Speech at the Retraining Seminar for General Practitioners and Specialists in Dubai (Discon) in 2017
  • Speech in the internal retraining courses of Irani Hospital, Dubai
  • Holding lecture sessions and practical workshops on the treatment of intervertebral disc herniation with discogel injection in Azerbaijan, Tajikistan, Ukraine, Oman, and Armenia during the years 2015 to 2021.
  • Giving a lecture and holding a practical workshop for neurosurgeons in Vietnam at Ho Chi Minh City University in 2023

Dr. Majid Zohrabi started treating his patients in Dubai in 2022 and continues his activities in private medical centers in the UAE.