Robert Ferry Jr., MD, is a U.S. board-certified Pediatric Endocrinologist. After taking his baccalaureate degree from Yale College, receiving his doctoral degree and residency training in pediatrics at University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio (UTHSCSA), he completed fellowship training in pediatric endocrinology at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.
A parent or caregiver must be observant and should contact appropriate help at the appropriate time. Monitor a child especially closely during recovery until the child is better. A teenager may not want to be bothered but still should be monitored.
Rest: A child with active abdominal pain often will benefit from resting. Lying face down may help relieve gas pain, but the optimal position
is that which feels best to the child.
Diet: People can survive a long time without solid food but need to keep up on liquids.
Dehydration takes time to develop, so forcing fluids is not always necessary. A child who is actively vomiting will not be able to hold down a large amount of liquid. Doctors recommend giving small amounts (1-2 ounces) at a time (every 15-20 minutes typically) until the child can handle more.
Avoid tinted, carbonated, caffeinated, fatty, or excessively salty or sugary
liquids (such as dark colas, tea, coffee, milk, sports drinks, and fruit
Fluids to give: Do not give water or boiled milk to infants, because it can cause serious problems with the salt content of their bodies. Also, milk is harder for a sick
stomach to digest. Doctors recommend various dehydration liquids. For example, Pedialyte can be bought over-the-counter without a prescription. Try to get the infant back on the usual feedings as soon as possible. Good choices for older children include ginger ale or simple soup broth. Avoid milk, fruit juices, heavily carbonated beverages, coffee, and sports drinks (such as Gatorade) in patients with diarrhea, since the
stomach may not tolerate these fluids. If an older child asks for soft drinks, avoid those with caffeine. Shaking the fizz out of carbonated beverages may make them more tolerable for an ill child.
Solid foods: The child will let you know when it is time to get back on solid food. Start them slowly, first try toast or crackers then advance to regular foods as they tolerate the feedings. Banana, apple sauce,
plain toast, or cooked rice are also suitable foods for introduction after a full liquid diet.
Medications: You can use acetaminophen (Aspirin Free, Children's Silapap, Panadol, Liquiprin, or Tylenol) to control fever. Most doctors still avoid
aspirin in children. Avoid antibiotics unless prescribed by a doctor. Physicians do not recommend herbal medicines or other home remedies. If you use them and later see a physician, be sure to
tell the physician exactly what you gave the child, because such material could affect the treatment recommendations.