Diarrhoea awareness day at Mandalay educare

Back, from left, are UCT fourth year medical students, Peace Francis, Lauren Murray, Keromamang Khalata and Sabeegah Davids. In front are student Sibusisiwe Mancotywa, principal Denise Bowman of Alpha and Omega Educare, UCT site facilitator for Mitchells Plain Christolene Beauzac-Mackay, students Laura Gertzen and Makgomo Rampedi.

Pupils at a Mandalay educare were taught in a fun and descriptive way to keep cool and hydrated during “diarrhoea season”.

The period from November to May is dubbed diarrhoea surge season as it coincides with an increase in the number of diarrhoea cases because of the warmer weather which assists the spread of germs.

Children younger than five are particularly vulnerable, with a high number of fatalities still experienced in developing countries in spite of the fact that diarrhoea is both preventable and self-limiting if a good level of hydration is maintained during an occurrence.

Seven fourth-year University of Cape Town medical students spent a few hours at Alpha and Omega Educare, teaching pupils about germs and how quickly they can spread, on Monday November 12.

They also showed them step-by-step how to wash their hands, with a song sung to the tune of “If you happy and you know it clap your hands”.

Student Sabeegah Davids said signs of dehydration caused by diarrhoea, included a tired child, dry mouth, the skin will go back slowly after pinching it, restless or crying child, not urinating or dry nappies, fast heartbeat and fast breathing.

They students also put together a poster explaining the signs and dangers of this curable illness.

According to the “Road to health chart” a sugar and salt solution can be given to children for hydration.

It is made with a litre of cooled boiled water, eight teaspoons of sugar and a half teaspoon of salt. The patient can take sips after every loose stool.

Children showing signs of having seizures (body is shaking), who are lethargic (tired), will not drink anything, who vomit and have blood in their stool should be taken to a clinic or hospital.