Diarrhea is one among the most usual childhood illnesses. Among children under five years of age, it is connected to almost one out of ten hospital admissions. Both gastroenteritis and diarrhea can be safely treated at home, but it seeking medical advice is recommended, as always when children are in question.
The rules of treating diarrhea and gastroenteritis consist of following simple steps. The first and the most urgent thing to do is to replenish the lost fluids. Calories are to be taken through appropriate diets, such as the BRAT diet. It is important to keep in mind that all of the symptoms of gastroenteritis and diarrhea do not necessarily have to respond in the same way. This especially applies to small children.
The most important thing in the home treatment of diarrhea and gastroenteritis is to administer a sufficient amount of fluids. This helps in regulating electrolyte imbalance and prevents dehydration. Dehydration is considered to be very serious in cases of babies and young children.
Oral-rehydration solution (ORS) products can be found in pharmacies and supermarkets. They should be used for hydration in case of diarrhea. Also, a home-made preparation can be used and taken every two hours. Food-based fluids, such as gruels or cereals, are acceptable as well.
Less urgent, but not less important, is the replacement of lost nutrients. About 24 hours after the diarrhea begins, a suitable diet is to be administered.
The name of the BRAT diet comes as an abbreviation for Bananas, Rice, Applesauce and Toast. This is a very usual and widely used short-term diet. BRAT diet ingredients provide energy boosts without causing gastric irritation. Potassium is found in bananas, and it helps to control the fluid balance in the body. Low fiber carbohydrates (toast, boiled rice) do not irritate the bowel. The cleansing of the digestive system is to be administered by the applesauce.
The regime of a bland diet should be followed until the diarrhea stops.
Infants that are breast fed should continue to be nursed if they begin showing symptoms f diarrhea. If the baby is fed with formula, then lactose free ones should be used immediately after rehydration.
Older children may continue eating foods that they would normally eat, as long as it is bland.
In case of diarrhea, foods that need to be avoided are those that are rich in simple sugars, fried foods, spices, and foods that are high in fibers, since they will only prolong the condition and make it worse.