Childhood Diseases

Posted by: BMJ | 2008/08/19


Appendics or normal bug

Hi Doc

My 7 year old son last week complained of tummy ache which lasted for 24 hours and went away - no vomitting. On Satuday he was very moany and had a couple of loose stools and not much of an appetite. Sunday he ate much better and had no loose stools but still was tired and moany. On Monday evening he ate well, but complained the whole night that his tummy was sore. He has no fever. Today I fetched him from school early because he was very tearful and his teacher said he needed the bathroom 3 times (for loose stools). He has slept most of the day and he is very pale. He has had about 6 stools and vomitted 3 times. His tummy ache got really bad and I gave him some buscopan. His tummy feels soft to the touch, but is tender. He curls himself in a ball and walks slumped over. I cannot get an answer from him if the bend over walking sitting is making his tummy feel better. I suspect just a viral tummy bug - but can you tell me from what I described that it excludes appendicitis. I would say his worst symptom is total exhaustion and pain that comes and goes. The stools are not big or explosive - they are small and smelly (but runny not like constipated poo). From what I can tell, the pain seem to come after drinking. He is not eating at the moment.

Thank you

Expert's Reply



It is very difficult for me to be able to answer your question with certainty. While his symptoms suggest that he has an infection, probably gastroenteritis,there are some features that don't fit the picture. His illness is lasting too long for one thing and his abdominal pain, while possibly simply being due to cramps is of concern.He also seems to be sicker than usual.It is possible that he has picked up a very nasty stomach bug such as Salmonella or shigella. Please ask your paediatrician to see him.

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