article2_tummy-trouble-symptoms.jpgTummy aches may happen frequently, and many of them may be minor. Sometimes, it can be just mild cases of kabag (colic) or more severe bouts with stomach flu. So how do you know when to bring your child to the emergency room? Check your child’s symptoms and their severity with this guide.

1. DIARRHEA

This is the passage of loose or watery stool, usually at least three times in 24 hours. “The consistency of the stool is more important than the frequency,” stresses Melinda Francisco, M.D., a pediatric consultant at the Holy Life Family clinic in Rosario, Pasig. “So even if you pass firm, formed stool more than once, it’s still not considered diarrhea.”

Bring your child to the doctor if: There is blood or mucus in the stool, it is accompanied by fever and abdominal cramps or immediately follows vomiting after a meal (could be a sign of food poisoning).


2. VOMITING

This happens when the contents of the stomach are involuntarily brought up back to the mouth.

Bring your child to the doctor if:
The vomit is tinged with blood, or if it increases in frequency and duration and is accompanied by diarrhea and abdominal cramps—this may be a sign of gastroentirits.


3. ABDOMINAL PAIN

This, simply put, is discomfort in the stomach area.

Bring your child to the doctor if: The pain is sudden and constant.


4. DEHYDRATION

When a severe stomach ailment leads your child to vomit and have diarrhea with increasing frequency, he is in danger of becoming dehydrated. This means the body will lack fluid and electrolytes—chemicals in salts, including sodium, potassium, and chloride—to function properly.

Bring your child to the doctor if: He displays any of the following signs of moderate to severe dehydration: sunken eyeballs, sunken fontanelle (the soft spot in the middle of a child’s head), dry skin, absence of tears, constant thirst.


(First published as "Tummy Troubles" in the "Good Health" section of
Good Housekeeping Philippines' October 2011 issue. Adapted for use in Female Network. Photo by kurichan+ via Flickr Creative Commons.)

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