When a child has diarrhea, increased amounts of fluid and electrolytes are lost from the body. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, this fluid loss can be excessive in children and may lead to dehydration. Dehydration can become dangerous quickly if the child is also vomiting.
Dr. Sandy Chung, author, mom of four and pediatrician at Fairfax Pediatric Associates in Virginia says she often sees children whose dehydration could have been prevented.
“It’s important for parents to know how to help their children stay hydrated through bouts of diarrhea and vomiting,” says Dr. Chung. “Unfortunately, many parents – even those with the best intentions – don’t know they could be misinformed when caring for their child.”
A recent survey of mothers uncovered five key myths about caring for kids with diarrhea and vomiting that caretakers should be aware of.
Myth: The best way to hydrate a child with diarrhea and vomiting is to have her quickly drink as much fluid as possible.
Fact: When hydrating a child, especially if she is vomiting, small sips are better than gulps.
Myth: It’s OK to wait a while before giving liquids after a child has had diarrhea and vomiting.
Fact: An oral electrolyte solution should be given at the first sign of diarrhea and vomiting to help prevent dehydration.
Myth: It takes several episodes of diarrhea and vomiting for an infant to become dehydrated.
Fact: As little as one bout of diarrhea with vomiting can cause dehydration in a baby.
Myth: It’s easy for a mom to tell if her child is dehydrated.
Fact: Nearly all mothers surveyed (98 percent) were unable to correctly identify all the signs of dehydration, including reduced urine production, sunken eyes, few or no tears during crying and dry mouth or tongue. Because it’s hard to identify the signs of dehydration, consult your pediatrician if you’re concerned.
Myth: Any liquid can prevent dehydration.
Fact: Sports drinks, sodas, and juices, and even water don’t meet medical guidelines for helping prevent dehydration due to diarrhea and vomiting in children. Many of these drinks are high in sugar, which can actually make diarrhea worse, and they don’t contain the proper amounts of the vital minerals lost during diarrhea and vomiting.
Unlike normal household drinks, oral electrolyte solutions, like Pedialyte(R), are specially formulated to replenish vital minerals and nutrients to help prevent dehydration due to diarrhea and vomiting.
Because stomach flu can hit at any time, be ready to deal with it without making a midnight trip to the drug store. Dr. Chung recommends stocking the medicine cabinet with important essentials, including children’s pain reliever/fever reducer, thermometers, hand sanitizers, and an oral electrolyte solution such as Pedialyte, which comes in stain-free, clear liquid Pedialyte Singles, or space-saving Powder Packs.
“Even if they know what to do when diarrhea and vomiting occur, most parents prefer to avoid the stomach flu altogether,” adds Dr. Chung.
To help prevent the stomach flu:
– Make sure kids wash their hands thoroughly with warm, soapy water
– Disinfect phones, doorknobs and toys regularly
– Provide nutritious foods at meal times
Go to Pedialyte.com/SurvivalGuide to download a Survival Guide for more tips to prepare for, help prevent, and help manage diarrhea and vomiting when these symptoms hit.
Use Pedialyte oral electrolyte solution under medical supervision for the dietary management of dehydration due to diarrhea and vomiting.