Diarrhea, or the sudden increase in the looseness and frequency of stools, is the body’s way of getting rid of toxins. bacteria, and viruses that often harm the digestive tract. Diarrhea also occurs when the intestines push through the stool before water reabsorbs water. But while it is generally beneficial, this doesn’t necessarily mean it doesn’t cause discomfort and inconvenience.
Children with diarrhea may find the symptom quite irritating, so you should be ready when it does happen. This is especially true if your children are too young to vocally express their pain. Of course, there are ways to prevent its occurrence, especially if you’re dealing with infectious diarrhea.
This article can help you plan your move and guide you in preventing and easing diarrhea in children naturally.
How to Prevent Diarrhea in Children: 4 Tips
Diarrhea is common, but that doesn’t mean it cannot be prevented. While some types of diarrhea are unavoidable, especially if it’s due to an underlying medical condition, there are ways to keep infectious diarrhea at bay.
As a parent or guardian, it’s vital that you know how to prevent diarrhea in children to ensure that they remain happy and healthy. Having this knowledge will also save you from a lot of stress and unwanted expenses for treatments and medications.
Help your child avoid uncomfortable tummy aches and frequent visits to the restroom with these four prevention tips:
1. Teach frequent hand washing and proper hygiene
Most microorganisms that end up inside your little one’s tummy entered through his mouth after being transferred from his hands. This means that, if he keeps a good habit of maintaining hygiene, he should be able to stay safe from infectious diarrhea.
Protect him from diarrhea by helping him avoid contact with viruses and bacteria through frequent and proper hand washing.
Teach your children how to properly wash their hands and encourage them to do it as regularly as possible.
Aside from instructing your children to wash their hands before and after meals, they should do the same after playing or touching objects. You can also let your children bring antibacterial wipes just in case they’ll go out and won’t have access to a clean sink.
2. Offer clean water for drinking
Water is one of the major sources of bacteria that cause diarrhea. This means that you can save your child from sudden frequent and loose stools by making sure that he only drinks clean water.
If possible, offer him distilled or purified water to drink. It would be better to use the same for toothbrushing as children sometimes end up swallowing some of it when gargling. If your children attend school, let them bring bottles of distilled or purified water as well.
3. Boost his gut health
Not all bacteria are bad. In fact, there are some “friendly” bacteria that live inside pockets of the intestinal tract that help ensure the normal functioning of the entire digestive system. These good bacteria play a significant role in preventing infection that leads to diarrhea.
However, there are cases when the number of bad bacteria is higher than the good ones, especially when your child is prescribed antibiotics to treat some other infection. If this is the case, you can help alleviate this side effect by giving him probiotics.
Probiotics for kids are available in the market as a form of alternative medicine, but it can also serve as a preventive measure for diarrhea. Aside from pills and vials, probiotics can also be found in certain types of foods, like:
- beet kvass
- dark chocolate
- sourdough bread
- green olives
- cottage cheese
If your child is a picky eater, look for recipes that use the ingredients from the list. Being creative with the meals you serve to your children will surely go a long way in keeping them healthy and ensuring that they don’t experience the symptoms of diarrhea.
4. Feed him clean and well-cooked food
Most infectious diarrhea cases are due to bad bacteria consumed through raw or undercooked food. Others that can be consumed fresh may also carry microorganisms that may cause diarrhea when not washed properly.
To avoid diarrhea, make sure you only feed your child clean and well-cooked foods. Even when buying goods from groceries, make sure that you properly clean them before storing and cooking. Stick to peeled fruits whenever possible, and never allow him to consume undercooked or raw seafood and meat. Avoiding foods sold on the streets can also aid your cause.
How to Ease Diarrhea Naturally
Many diarrhea cases are due to microorganisms that cause infections. Often, the symptom only lasts about two to three days and will eventually go away on its own.
While adults can opt to medicate once they begin experiencing loose stools, these drugs are really better used for severe diarrhea than an incidental bout. Fortunately, there are more natural ways to ease your child’s diarrhea, as follows:
5. Offer plenty of fluids (but choose it wisely)
One major complication of diarrhea that causes children to end up in the emergency room is dehydration. Because of the nature of the ailment, the body ends up losing plenty of water and electrolytes such as sodium, calcium, potassium, and magnesium. All these are necessary for the gastrointestinal system to function normally.
When left unchecked, diarrhea can lead to dehydration that can be dangerous — even fatal — especially for very young children.
To help manage your child’s bout with diarrhea, make sure that you offer him plenty of fluids to replenish what he lost. This can come in the form of water, clear broths, clear juices, and pediatric rehydration drinks. If you’re looking for some Pedialyte alternatives (drink known to increase a person’s electrolytes in the body), mix six teaspoons of sugar and half teaspoon of salt into one liter of clean or boiled water, or let your child drink coconut water.
If you have a breastfed baby, continue feeding him to keep him nourished until his diarrhea passes.
However, you must remember to avoid offering your child drinks that have a laxative effect, such as coffee, prune juice, soda, and sugary drinks. These drinks will only worsen the diarrhea and leave long-term health risks to your child’s digestive tract.
6. Stick to low-fiber “BRAT” foods
Some pediatricians also recommend a change in diet for children with diarrhea. Based on their advice, children – or anyone with diarrhea for that matter – should only eat foods that alleviate the condition and prevent it from getting worse. One common example is the low-fiber “BRAT” diet.
BRAT stands for banana, rice, applesauce, and toast. These foods are recommended since they help firm up the stool, thereby expediting recovery. They also have low-fiber content, which prevents diarrhea from getting worse.
If your child isn’t fond of eating these foods, gradually add them to their diets by serving portions during meals. You can also hide or add these foods to some of your children’s favorite meals.
7. Supplement with good bacteria
Sometimes, diarrhea is caused by an imbalance in gut bacteria. This means that the bad bacteria might be overpowering the good ones in your little one’s tummy.
To help ease the symptom, consider supplementing with probiotics. You can choose to feed him the probiotic-rich foods listed above or have him take a specific type of gut-friendly bacteria out of a vial or supplement, as prescribed by his pediatrician.
Some medical conditions can be fought off by the body’s own defenses. Diarrhea is no different. However, children may have a more difficult time overcoming them. Use this article as a guide to help you plan how to effectively prevent and ease your child’s diarrhea.