In recent weeks there has been a 70% increase in children younger than five presenting with diarrhoea at City of Cape Town’s clinics, compared to the same time last year. The period between November and May, generally known as surge season, coincides with an increase in diarrhoea and pneumonia cases. The very hot conditions in the city have led to a noticeable increase in the number of children brought to health facilities with symptoms like diarrhoea, vomiting and dehydration. “We’re not yet halfway through the season and the numbers are concerning. These illnesses are the biggest health risks to young children and yet they can be treated and are entirely preventable. I urge parents and caregivers to continue with health protocols and to seek treatment at their local clinic as soon as they observe symptoms or suspect one of these ailments,” said Councillor Patricia Van der Ross, Mayoral Committee Member for Community Services and Health at the City.
Apart from handwashing, parents and caregivers are advised to wash bottles, bowls, spoons and teats before feeding young children. During hot summer days, food is easily spoilt. If eaten, this can also cause diarrhoea, which can lead to dehydration. When babies and young infants lose even a small amount of fluid in their watery stools, it will cause them to become dehydrated quickly, which can be life threatening.
Quick solution to tackle dehydration head on
At the child’s first loose stool, prepare the replacement oral rehydration solution by boiling a litre of water and let it cool down. Then add eight teaspoons of sugar and half a teaspoon of salt. Give the child small sips of the solution very frequently, preferably from a cup. If the child vomits, wait10 minutes then continue, but slower. Avoid giving large amounts of the solution at once as this may cause them to vomit.
Public should report water-related concerns residents who has concerns about to the quality of the drinking water, need to report it via the following channels to arrange for a sample to be taken. The public may call 0860103 089; visitwww.capetown.gov.za/servicerequests; via emailto email@example.com or SMS 31373(a maximum 160characters) is allowed.