Do you know how to prevent dehydration?
With all that vomiting and diarrhea, a kid with a stomach bug can easily get dehydrated. Left untreated, dehydration can lead to seizures, kidney failure, and even death. Take this quiz to be prepared.
1. The best beverage to offer a vomiting child is:
B. A clear, sweet liquid like ginger ale or apple juice
C. Oral rehydration solutions
D. Sports drinks
Answer: C. Oral rehydration solutions such as Pedialyte contain water and electrolytes in specific concentrations to replenish what your child has lost. (Check with your MD if your child is under 3 months.) If she refuses to drink one, give her water, ice pops, diluted juice, or (if she's older than 18 months) salty pretzels to suck on.
2. Every time your child drinks something, she throws up. You should:
A. Give up -- she'll drink as soon as she's ready.
B. Offer small sips regularly.
C. Force her to drink as much as she can even though she's throwing up.
Answer: B. Slow and steady wins this race. Even if your child can't handle gulps of liquid, she should still be able to keep down small sips (about a teaspoon) every five minutes. "A teaspoonful of liquid every few minutes adds up to a few ounces in an hour," says Dr. Michael Russo.
3. If you're breastfeeding or formula-feeding your sick baby, you should:
A. Stop and just give him an oral rehydration solution.
B. Dilute the milk.
C. Continue with the breast or bottle.
Answer: C. Stick with nursing or bottle-feeding, but offer smaller amounts more frequently. If your baby seems sleepy, wake him up often for feedings. Stay in touch with your pediatrician; he can help assess signs of dehydration and advise supplementing with an oral rehydration solution if he thinks it's necessary.
Originally published in Parents magazine.
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