Our May Topic | Diarrhoea | What Can Children Do?

Our May topic is Diarrhoea, it is one of our 10 topics with 10 ‘diarrhoea’ messages for children to learn and share.

Our 100 Health Messages for Children to Learn and Share are simple, reliable health education messages aimed at children aged 8-14, this includes young adolescents aged 10-14. We feel that it is especially useful and important to make sure that young adolescents are informed as this age group often cares for young children in their families. Also, it’s important to recognise and praise the work they are doing to help their families in this way.

The messages are arranged as 10 messages in 10 key health topics: Malaria, Diarrhoea, Nutrition, Coughs, Colds & Pneumonia, Intestinal Worms, Water, Sanitation & Hygiene, Immunisation, HIV & Aids, Accidents & Preventing Injuries and Caring for Babies & Young Children. The simple health messages are for parents and health educators to use with children at home and in schools, clubs and clinics.

Here are the ten messages on Topic 5: DIARRHOEA

  1. Diarrhoea is watery poo that happens three or more times a day. It can lead to dangerous dehydration.
  2. Diarrhoea is caused by tiny germs that are too small to see. Germs live all around us! Germs travel easily from our fingers, food, drinks, cups and spoons into our mouths and bodies.
  3. Diarrhoea causes us to lose vital fluids from our bodies. We need to replace fluids and salts to keep the body strong and prevent serious illness or even death from dehydration.
  4. A child with dehydration can have dry mouth and tongue, sunken eyes, no tears, loose skin, cool hands and feet. Babies can have a sunken soft spot on the head. Spot these signs? Take them to a clinic urgently.
  5. ORS stands for Oral Rehydration Solution, the best drink to prevent and treat dehydration. Find packets, to make ORS, at clinics and shops.
  6. Prevent dehydration by using ORS as soon as diarrhoea begins. Mix ORS correctly with clean, safe water following the instructions on the packet. Breast milk is best for babies.
  7. Children doing more than three watery poos a day or bloody poo or who start to vomit too MUST be seen by a health worker. Give ORS or other fluids while waiting to be seen.
  8. Zinc tablets can reduce the amount of poo and can help children recover more quickly from diarrhoea. Health workers instruct us how to take Zinc with ORS. Five fluids too, to prevent dehydration.
  9. Young children with diarrhoea need every day tasty, mashed food and soups as often as possible to make their body stronger.
  10. Prevent germs spreading! Develop everyday habits like proper handwashing with soap, good hygiene after toilet, before eating and preparing food. Breastfeed babies and immunise against measles and rotavirus.

These health messages have been reviewed by expert health educators and medical experts and are available on the ORB health website too.

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Here are some ideas for activities children can do to understand more about the May topic and share the messages with others.

DIARRHOEA: What Can Children Do?

Teachers in Lagos work together on actions plans to mobilise children as activists in a diarrhoea prevention and control programme.

  • MAKE our own Diarrhoea messages using our own words in our own language!
  • MEMORISE the messages so we never forget them!
  • SHARE these messages with other children and our families!
  • MAKE a simple Fly Trap to keep flies that carry germs away from our food.
  • MAKE a poster to show others the diarrhoea danger signs.
  • CREATE a short play about when we need to call the health worker to help.
  • MAKE a snakes and ladders game to help us learn how to stop diarrhoea.
  • MAKE First Aid Kits for home and school that has ORS.
  • ROLE PLAY two mothers talking about how to help their babies with diarrhoea get better.
  • PLAY a game to label a picture of a baby with diarrhoea to test what we know about the signs of dehydration.
  • LOOK at how plants need water to grow – find out what happens when plants don’t have water.
  • HELP prevent diarrhoea by keeping ourselves and the places we live clean.
  • PLAY The Handshaking Game to find out how quickly germs can spread.
  • ASK, How long were our parents breastfed? How do we treat diarrhoea at home with ORS and zinc? What are the danger signs that mean we need to get help from a health worker? What drinks are safe when we have diarrhoea? How we can make water safe to drink by using sunlight? Which drinks are safe when we don’t have any ORS? What are dysentery and cholera and how do they spread?

Children for Health has worked with teachers and children to create two storybooks that are relevant to this topic:

  1. The Puzzle and
  2. The Special Glasses

Click on the links above to download these storybooks now from our Free Resources section.

For more specific information on making a Fly Trap, The Handshaking Game or on
sunshine sterilizing water or to learn more about our May topic, see Diarrhoea!
For anything else please contact us or e-mail clare@childrenforhealth.org

Our diarrhoea logo, a brown circle in the centre of which is an illustration of a child wearing a blue shirt and orange shorts in a squat position having a poo.

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