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How Hydration Can Help with Getting Over the Flu?

Updated: May 14, 2022

When your child is vomiting, has diarrhoea, or is dehydrated, their world (and yours) turns upside down. This comes to influenza or more commonly called the "flu," you're probably all set with throat lozenges and your favourite blanket — but what about hydration?

It’s important to keep them hydrated while their body heals!

Both influenza and the stomach flu, which, despite its name, actually has nothing to do with the flu. The "stomach flu," aka gastroenteritis, actually refers to an inflammation in the gastrointestinal or GI tract and is typically caused by viruses or bacteria. The most common cause is norovirus, which spreads through contaminated water, food and unwashed hands.

Whether it's you or your children tackling the flu this winter, Abbott research scientist Jennifer Williams, MPH explains that hydration is an important part of recovery. Any time your child is vomiting, has diarrhoea or has signs of dehydrated. Always talk to your paediatrician if symptoms continue beyond 24 hours.

Small children in particular can get dehydrated quickly with vomiting or diarrhoea. Their bodies have high metabolic rates and relatively small fluid reserves, which means they can quickly lose the water and electrolytes their bodies need to function.

  • Sleepiness

  • Irritability

  • Thirst

  • Less elasticity in the skin

  • Eyes and fontanel (or soft spot on head) appear sunken

  • Decrease or absence of tears

  • Dry mouth

  • Decrease number of wet diapers

What is an Oral Rehydration Solutions (ORS)?

An oral rehydration solution (ORS) is a type of fluid replacement regulated by the FDA and used to prevent and treat dehydration due to vomiting and especially diarrhoea. The fluid contains modest amounts of sugar and salts, specifically sodium and potassium, which are necessary in replenishing lost minerals. Studies have shown that the use of an oral rehydration solution decreases the risk of death from severe diarrhoea by about 93%!

When and how do I give an ORS to my child?

Any time your child is having vomiting, diarrhoea or is dehydrated, begin giving them electrolytes. Start off with 1 sachet of Eric Favre Special Kid Probiotics sachet with cold water per day or take Rehydration Syrup with recommended dose per day to boost immune, digestive and anti-allergy health small sips as tolerated by their sensitive bodies. After giving your child an electrolyte solution for 12-24 hours and symptoms are decreasing, you can gradually begin introducing some foods back into their diet. The best first foods are applesauce, pears, bananas, and bland foods such as rice, toast, potatoes, and cereal, with a goal of returning to their usual diet over the next few days. Continue giving your child the electrolytes for a few days to ensure they are rehydrated.

Always speak to your health care provider when your child experiences these symptoms and and if symptoms persist before giving oral rehydration solutions.

Can I give too much?

No. Your child can drink until satisfied but especially at first do not let your child’s sensitive tummy get too full, so start off slowly!


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