Protective Strategies For Diarrhea
- Tuesday, 05 July 2011
At some point in your young child’s life they will probably develop diarrhea. This protective mechanism results from their body’s attempt to expel a pathogen or substance that has caused them irritation or an upset of sorts. Diarrhea can range from being a minor irritation to being a life-threatening condition. It all depends on how long it lasts and how much water the body loses.
As a parent it is important to gauge the seriousness of the diarrhea and to react accordingly. If your child’s issue with diarrhea is prolonged or extreme – meaning that they are on the verge of dehydration – consult your doctor immediately. If the diarrhea has just begun or is not extreme, it is wise to attempt some time-proven strategies.
Strategies to Implement:
If a substance such as a food allergen or a bad food has caused your child’s diarrhea, it is important to identify and remove that food from your child’s diet as soon as possible. Eliminating the offender may not stop the diarrhea immediately but it would certainly help the body to return to balance faster.
If diarrhea is a fairly regular occurrence keeping an ongoing food diary can help to pinpoint the culprit.
Diarrhea by virtue of its definition is a watery stool. Therefore with every episode, more and more water is being lost from the body. The danger with this is that it can lead to dehydration, which is a very serious concern.
In order to avoid this potentially fatal consequence, ensure your child stays hydrated by offering a continuous supply of fluids. If drinking water becomes arduous, consider offering soup or smoothies or vegetable juices.
Commercial sports drinks are unnecessary and often unhealthy due to their high sugar content and artificial coloring. Instead to boost electrolyte content you can add a ¼ teaspoon of salt and 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of sugar to water to create your own homemade version.
Foods to Help Bind
Certain foods have been used throughout the millennia to help “plug” or hinder the intestinal tract from eliminating too quickly. In some cases these same foods can be constipating for very sensitive individuals. Foods that can help to slow down diarrhea include bananas, brown rice and apples or applesauce. Toast, potatoes and pasta can also help if your child doesn’t like any of the above.
If you are still breastfeeding your baby or child continue to do so as the protective elements in breast milk will help to support recovery from the pathogenic attack. If you are feeding using a combination of breast milk and formula, increase the amount of breast milk and decrease the amount of formula given during this time.
It is also wise to avoid dairy and apple juice during times of diarrhea as they can contribute to intestinal upset.
Probiotics are essential for healthy bowel function. Whenever diarrhea occurs it indicates that our bowels are not in a healthy state. Adding high-dose multi-spectrum probiotics through supplements can help to alleviate diarrhea that is caused by a pathogenic bacteria that has entered the body. A good example of this is what is known as traveler’s diarrhea.
Certain foods have probiotics in them, however these foods will not be therapeutic enough or fast enough to remedy the problem. Quality brand probiotics will often have a children’s formula that you can administer to your child.
By following these protective strategies you can help ensure that your child recovers as quickly as possible from an episode of diarrhea.