Consider the case of a two year old child is brought into the urgent care clinic with persistent fever, vomiting and diarrhea and the risk associated with these symptoms. Often times, vomiting and diarrhea are signs that the stomach is irritated and is trying to remove something that is disagreeable. This is a normal bodily defense in reaction to pathogens or infectious microorganisms (e. g. Campylobacter sp. and E. coli) attacking the gastrointestinal tract which is usually caused by contaminated food and water ingested into the system.
Vomiting, nausea and diarrhea is usually transient and can resolve on its own but in case wherein the child experiences diarrhea lasting for more than 24 hr, then he/she should be bought to a physician for rehydration therapy. Such severe and persistent vomiting and diarrhea can lead to dehydration, electrolyte loss, and malnutrition and weight loss. The child experiences fever in reaction to the invasion of pathogens, which it [body] is trying to neutralize by elevating the thermoregulatory point; thus creating a host environment which can prove to be detrimental to pathogens with strict temperature preference.
Parents should watch out for any change in the appearance in the stool or if there is blood or pus concomitant with it. Additionally, they should screen the child’s stool for GI pathogen occurrence. Body dehydration and fluid and electrolyte imbalance is the first problem associated with three symptoms (mentioned above). The sodium level in the blood climbs up, ‘hypernatremia’, which causes the child to feel dizzy.
Hypokaelemia or low potassium level in the blood causes the child to become weak and hypercalcemia can cause a loss of appetite and confusion. The imbalances of the blood molecules mentioned above are due to the high excretion of water by the kidneys. Dehydration can easily be combated by replenishing fluids loss by the system.
References Post, T. , and B. Rose. (2001). Clinical Physiology of Acid-Base and Electrolyte Disorders. NY: McGraw-Hill Professional. Kreiger, J and D. Sherrard. (1989). Practical Fluids and Electrolytes Disorder. NY:Prentice Hall