Pediatrics Articles

The cold temperatures, the dry air, and the pestering viruses cause winter to be a key season for illnesses like the stomach bug, cold, and flu. Add the toys and crayons your child is sharing at school and we’ve given bacteria an open arena to spread like wildfire. How do you know when it’s the right time to see a doctor for antibiotics? What if antibiotics are actually causing more harm? How can I prevent my child from becoming dehydrated? You’re not the first person to ask these questions, and you certainly won’t be the last. In this post, we will answer your questions and help clear up some of your concerns.

Should I Worry About Dehydration? 

Typically we consider dehydration a threat in the warmer months when school is out, the days are long and hot, and our kids are more focused on playing than drinking water. But dehydration is not an issue only in the summer. In fact, the dry winter air can just as easily lead to dehydration. Your child can easily become dehydrated if they have a stomach bug. Even though water may not be appealing, encourage them to suck on ice cubes or drink a sports drink to replace electrolytes so that they replenish lost fluids. Be cautious on the amount of sugar in the sports drinks and remember that drinking water is still the best option to give the body the amount of fluid it needs. Staying hydrated throughout the winter can actually make your body more efficient by preventing it from becoming tired and lethargic, thus more susceptible to contracting winter illnesses. Attempt to drink eight, 8-ounce glasses of water every day to stay hydrated and healthy.

Are Antibiotics The Best Option?

It’s easy to put bacteria on the bad list. We think that bacteria is something we should strive to get rid of. And in many cases, this is true. To rid our bodies of this harmful substance, we seek out an antibiotic—medicine that destroys bacteria. However, our body, especially our gut, contains bacteria that is good—even necessary—for us. Some of the bacteria actually keeps us healthy. Antibiotics cannot tell the difference between the good and bad bacteria, so they end up destroying the good bacteria in our intestines. This often causes antibiotic-associated diarrhea or, in some cases, Clostridium difficile, the inflammation of the colon that can be life-threatening. The danger of antibiotics is especially important for us to remember as parents and trust your pediatricians to know when it is the right time for antibiotics. If your child’s digestive tract is having trouble getting back on track, GI Associates, has a unique department dedicated just to children! GI Pediatrics is filled with a team of doctors you can trust.

What’s The Relationship Between Probiotics And Antibiotics?

In an attempt to remedy the complications caused by lost gut bacteria due to antibiotics, many physicians recommend including probiotics in your food or vitamin intake. Probiotics are the good bacteria needed for your body to function properly. When taken in conjunction with antibiotics, probiotics can help replenish the good bacteria. Probiotics are found in foods like yogurt, some cheeses, sauerkraut, kimchi, and kefir milk. But often the best way to get enough probiotics is to take a supplement so that you get the highest amount of colony-forming units (CFUs). While probiotics are generally considered safe, talk to your physician before taking a supplement (especially if you are already taking an antibiotic). Research indicates that a child needs five to ten million of a certain bacteria in order for it to be effective. Many supplements will contain five million CFUs in each dose. Most of the research completed so far has centered around children, but it’s believed that adults will require the same amount, if not more. Because the antibiotic is working to attack the bacteria, it’s best to take the supplement at a different time than you take an antibiotic. Doctors also recommend that probiotics be consumed for up to two weeks after the antibiotic has been completed since the prescription will continue to attack the gut bacteria for a bit longer.

If you need a GI specialist or have questions about probiotics and gut health, make an appointment at GI Associates today.

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