Websites on diarrhoea in children

Dr Keith Barnard recommends websites relating to diarrhoea in children.

Guidelines for GPs
Guidelines aimed at GPs for children's diarrhoea are pretty thin on the ground.

NICE is working on it, but you will have to wait until 2009, by which time it will have taken over three years.

Nottingham University has worked up its own guidance, only it runs to 87 pages.

But never fear, only the first six pages are relevant to GPs, and although it appears to be a rather complicated algorithm, it is worth using.

I suggest you download the whole PDF, but only print pages one to six, and read just this section.

There is plenty of good advice here, including when to consider admission.

Why go there: it manages to cover all the basic angles.
Downside: looks complicated
Information from: Nottingham University
Address: Please click here

Patient information
I have extolled the virtues of BUPA fact sheets in the past. They are usually well written and you are not bombarded with advertising.

This is no exception, a clearly laid-out description of gastroenteritis in children.

The most important sections are those on dehydration (how to recognise it, why it is important), and treatment, which emphasises the need to use rehydration solutions. There is even a do-it-yourself recipe for making one.

Why go there: clear, sensible advice.
Downside: none.
Information from: BUPA
Address: Please click here

Unknown causes
This section from the PRODIGY website contains useful information for GPs on the management of diarrhoea of unknown cause - surely the most common scenario that GPs are likely to face.

I have to say I do not like this redesigned presentation - and I didn't much like the old one either.

I like to see where I am going and not to be presented with a home page for the topic that simply contains a list of links to other pages.

And then when you hit one of these links, you are often presented with another sub-menu.

This aside, the information is helpful and unequivocal. And if you can eventually find it after much link-clicking, the section about shared decision making surprised me by containing so much relevant advice.

Why go there: authoritative information.
Downside: poor presentation.
Information from: PRODIGY
Address: Please click here

On a lighter note
This herbal medicine website seems to kill its own golden goose. The site is selling a liquid rainbow herbal relief for diarrhoea at about £13 a go.

I am not sure if alluding to a rainbow in the name is meant to conjure up images of the calm after the storm, or reflects the many different ingredients of the product.

But to give them credit; the purveyors say 'seek medical advice if diarrhoea persists for more than six hours in infants under six months, 12 hours in children under three years, 24 hours in children aged three to six years or 48 hours in adults and children over six years.'

So, by the time the medication arrives from Australia, you are not really going to need it.

Why go there: light relief.
Downside: it's from down under.
Information from: Zandella
Address: Please click here

Dr Barnard is a former GP in Fareham, Hampshire

Website of the week

This research from Nigeria made me stop and think about a number of things about gastroenteritis.

The scale of the problem worldwide was one, another was the fact that doctors in underdeveloped countries face difficulties we cannot imagine and we should count ourselves lucky to work in a health system that, despite its flaws, is a good place to be.

Also, these Nigerian doctors are willing to engage in research, and the homespun presentation of this article is humbling, produced without PowerPoint slides or high-tech imagery.

Despite the fact that drugs have no place in the treatment of diarrhoea in children, medical practitioners in the study were the ones who prescribed them the most, instead of using rehydration solutions.

Why go there: interesting and humbling.
Downside: not applicable to the UK - or is it?
Information from: World Health Organization.
Address: Please click here

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