Stomach bug in kids: Gatorade or Pedialyte?

Dwyane Wade (Facebook/Gatorade)

Dwyane Wade (Facebook/Gatorade)

Gatorade and Pedialyte are two of the products containing electrolytes that promote rehydration. These are recommended to patients suffering from diarrhea caused by stomach bug.

The technical term for stomach bug or stomach flu is gastroenteritis, an inflammation of the stomach and intestines. The symptoms include fever, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or constipation, stomach or intestinal cramps, joint stiffness and weight loss 24-48 hours after the patient was exposed to the virus.

Recently, four regions in France were hit by early stomach bug epidemic. The number of consultations for acute diarrhea, the main symptom of winter stomach flu in certain parts of France, rose in the Hauts-de-France, Grand Est, Pays de la Loire and Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur, The Local reported.

Health officials in the country recommended quickly disinfecting hands if contact with dirty hands cannot be avoided. Staying hydrated and avoiding foods high in fiber were also recommended.

According to Dr. Rich Laracy, a pediatrician at Saco River Medical Group in Conway, New Hampshire, the first thing a parent needs to remember if a child is suffering from stomach bug is to make sure he or she is taking fluids. He wrote on The Conway Daily Sun that Pedialyte should be given to the child to help treat or prevent dehydration caused by the stomach bug.

It is best to give small but frequent amounts of Pedialyte because if the child quickly guzzles it down, it will most likely come right back up, Laracy explained. But if the child refuses the electrolyte solution, the pediatrician recommended watered-down Gatorade.

On the other hand, Gatorade and juice have sugar in them that can prolong diarrhea, Laracy warned. As long as the child is drinking, it is okay if he or she does not eat much for the first 24 hours of the illness, he added, but after this period, parents should encourage the child to eat rice, bananas, toast, apple sauce and other bland foods.

In “Ferri’s Netter Patient Advisor,” Fred F. Ferri, M.D., also recommended following a liquid diet including Gatorade or Pedialyte to people suffering from diarrhea caused by an infection of the stomach and intestines called salmonellosis. Caused by a type of bacteria called salmonella, salmonellosis is similar to stomach bug.

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