Magazine article Nutrition Health Review

When Your Child Has Diarrhea

Magazine article Nutrition Health Review

When Your Child Has Diarrhea

Article excerpt

Why is diarrhea dangerous to children?

A child's body is made up of about 80 percent fluid. The fluid is necessary for the body to work properly. When a child has diarrhea, too much fluid and important minerals are lost.

How can I replace the fluid that is lost because of diarrhea?

Fluid lost because of diarrhea can be replaced with drinks made specially for this purpose. These drinks contain the right amount of fluid and minerals to help your child feel better. They are called oral rehydration solutions (some examples are Pedialyte, Ricelyte and Rehydralyte).

Liquids like apple juice, cola drinks and sports drinks have too much sugar, and that can make your child's diarrhea worse. Plan water doesn't replace the lost minerals, and that makes the child even sicker.

How do I use oral rehydration solutions?

The best way to get enough liquid into your child is to give very small amounts every few minutes. If you give your child one teaspoonful of liquid every minute, in less than an hour your child will have taken one cup. Even a child who is vomiting can usually keep down the rehydration solution if a teaspoonful is given every minute.

When children have diarrhea, they need at least twice as much fluid as they usually drink when they are well. You can keep giving them their usual mealtime feedings and then given the oral rehydration solution between feedings.

How do I know if the oral rehydration solution is working?

Call your doctor right away if your child is not able to keep down fluids, has a high fever, has blood in the bowel movement or shows any of these signs of dehydration:

* A dry mouth (no drooling)

* Signs of thirst

* Fewer wet diapers

* Sleepiness or fussiness

* "Sunken" eyes

* No tears when the child is crying

Where can I find oral rehydration solutions? …

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