Goal: Keep children comfortable and hydrated while going through this messy illness. Suppressing vomiting or diarrhea with medications prolongs the damage or masks more serious problems, like appendicitis. A heating pad or warm bath can help cramping and discomfort.
If any of these warning signs become apparent, call our office immediately:
- Blood or mucus in the bowel movement.
- High fever or terrible headache
- Significant abdominal or right lower quadrant pain
- No urine for 12 hours, dry mouth, sunken eyes
- Significant change in behavior or listlessness
- Diarrhea or vomiting for more than three days
After their last bout of vomiting, allow a two hour “gut rest” before taking a teaspoon of fluid. If they can hold that down for 20 minutes, increase it to a tablespoon and continue to slowly progress up.
- Small, frequent sips of clear sweet liquid will stay down better than large amounts given at once. Use a straw or dropper if necessary with reluctant kids.
- Breast feeding should be continued. Pedialyte (or other oral rehydrating solutions for infants) is recommended for children under 2.
- Sprite, Gatorade, popsicles, or Jell-O work well with older kids to settle stomachs. Ginger ale helps ease nausea.
- Medication may be prescribed if child is becoming dehydrated.
Once vomiting has calmed down (usually 12-18 hours), follow bland diet as outlined for diarrhea.
- Breast milk is always ideal for diarrhea. Offer Pedialyte (or other oral rehydrating solution) to supplement fluid loss (1-2 oz between feeding, in sips).
- Pedialyte may be given exclusively for the first day or two in small frequent amounts for significant diarrhea until frequency of bowel movement slows.
- Cow’s milk formula is generally okay for the first two days for mild diarrhea. Soy formulas are binding and lactose-free (Isomil, ISOMIL DF, or Prosobee). Offer in small amount (1/2 oz) frequently. Lactose-free milk formula may also be substituted, as well as Nutamigen or Alimentum. Nibble, sip, nibble, sip.
- Rice cereal, bananas, applesauce, carrots, potatoes, rice, squash, and turkey or chicken noodle dinners.
- Yogurt (banana or vanilla flavor), cheerios, crackers, if child is old enough and previously in diet.
WARNING: Juice and plain water (without food) will worsen infant’s diarrhea.
- Yogurt is excellent for diarrhea but avoid milk and ice cream. Look for labels that state “active cultures.”
- Toast and jelly, crackers, pancakes or waffles with small amount of syrup, pasta with butter or margarine. Chicken and turkey are good choices for dinner or sandwich. Rice, potatoes, chicken soup loaded with vegetables and noodles. Dry cereal is a good nibble for poor appetites.
- White grape juice, water with meals. Avoid citrus and acidic foods (including tomato sauce), fried or spicy foods, juice, tea, or soda.
PROBIOTICS help the gut recover faster and can be found in certain brands of yogurt (Dan Active, Activia, YoPlus). Probiotics can be purchased as a packet or capsule. Culturelle, Lactionex, and Acidophilus can be found in most pharmacies. Use packets or capsules. Cut dose in half for younger children or infants. For children, mix with soft food one time each day until fully recovered.