6 New Facts About Stomach Flu

Medication doesn't help -- and could hurt.

"When there's an infection in the gut, toxins get released in the stool," explains Michael Russo, MD, assistant professor of pediatrics at the Children's Medical Center in Dallas. "Antidiarrheal drugs slow down stool production so toxins linger in the body for a longer time. And Pepto-Bismol can turn stool black, making it hard for doctors to determine whether the discoloration is due to something more serious, like blood in the stool." What's more, the adult version of Pepto-Bismol contains an aspirin-like ingredient that increases the risk of Reye's syndrome, a potentially fatal disease. Your pediatrician may, however, prescribe medication for persistent vomiting.

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