I have a lot of patients who come to the office complaining of their children having vomiting or diarrhea, or both. These stomach issues are enough to make anyone miserable, but getting to the point of dehydration is even worse. Here are some things you can do at home to help prevent dehydration.
If your child has had several episodes of vomiting or diarrhea, you will need to replace lost fluids and electrolytes.
Children older than 1 year may have clear soups, clear sodas or juice mixed with water. Avoid plain water – it doesn’t contain enough salt and nutrients to help with dehydration. Also, avoid dark sodas – they are typically very high in sugar and can irritate your stomach.
Oral rehydration solutions (Pedialyte) are great for children under 1, as well as older children. Try small amounts of Pedialyte at first. When your child is able to keep the drink down, slowly increase how much you give.
If your child keeps vomiting, wait 30 to 60 minutes after the last time he or she vomited, and then try a few sips of Pedialyte, and increase as tolerated.
When your child stops vomiting, increase Pedialyte and add clear broths or clear sodas.
Restart solids when they can tolerate fluids. Avoid foods with a lot of sugar and fat. It’s best to avoid dairy products for a short while. Try bland foods for the first 24 hours; these include bananas, rice, applesauce, toast, saltine crackers and unsweetened cereals. If your child does well with these foods, you can add other foods.
Do not give you child any medication to stop the diarrhea. If it’s caused by an infection, diarrhea is a way for the body to get rid of that infection. Giving medicines that stop diarrhea may actually interfere with the body’s efforts to heal.