Ugh, a Stomach Bug! 6 Common Tummy Trouble Mistakes

You Give Over-the-Counter Medicine for Diarrhea

Wrong Move Your child keeps having diarrhea, so you give him an OTC remedy to soothe his stomach.

Better Bet Never give your child any tummy medicine unless your doctor approves it. "Sometimes parents use whatever they have in their medicine cabinet," says Jennifer Shu, M.D., a Parents advisor and the editor of the American Academy of Pediatrics' Baby & Child Health. "But these drugs can cause side effects in children and make the illness worse." In particular, antidiarrheal meds such as original Pepto-Bismol and Kaopectate contain an aspirin-like substance called salicylate that can cause Reye's syndrome, a rare but potentially fatal disease, in kids under 18. While loperamide (the main ingredient in Imodium, Kaopectate I-D, and others) is FDA-approved for kids 6 and older, Dr. Shu doesn't advise using this medicine because it slows down digestion and keeps the bug in your child's gut longer. Check with your doctor before giving him Children's Pepto Chewable Tablets, which don't contain salicylate. Often, the best strategy is simply to keep your child hydrated and wait it out.

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