Upset tummies: Home cures that will helptummy-bug-280

Upset tummies can be rotten for little ones, what can you do to help? Helen Foster finds out

Most usually caused by an infection, upset stomachs can happen at any age. In the majority of cases the upset itself will be harmless, and will only cause problems if your child becomes dehydrated.

Don't panic

'Many parents are alarmed if small children stop eating, but as long as they're keeping down fluids they will be Ok for a day or two,' says GP Dr Uzma Ali from London's Integrated Medical Centre.

Keep up the hydration

'Give your child lots of water,' says Dr Roked, 'but not fruit juice which can be too sugary and actually irritate the bowel.' This is also the reason why Dr Reece says that you should ignore the old wives' tale about administering flat cola– it can just set things off again!

Don't given them anti-poop tablets

'You want them to pass the bug out of their system as fast as they can as that will speed up how quickly they get well,' says Dr Ali. Anti- diarrhoea preparations will mean the bug can stay put for longer.

Mind the milk

If your child has had a tummy upset (perhaps with vomiting as well) and the diarrhoea seems to be lingering, you could try taking them off dairy foods for a while. 'In some children the gut doesn't recover completely after gastroenteritis and this can trigger a short bout of lactose intolerance,' says Dr Hesseling. A few dairy-free days can help right things again.

If your baby often has diarrhoea

'Breastfed babies can have a huge range of normal bowel motions – some of them naturally runny,' says Dr Hesseling. 'If your doctor says your baby is well and thriving in every other way, it might just be normal.'

When to see a doctor

If things don't start to get better in 48 hours. If there's any blood in their poo or they have a high fever; this may indicate an infection that will need antibiotics. If they have diarrhoea and vomiting at the same time. Also if your baby shows any signs of dehydration – lethargy that gets worse, or not passing enough urine.

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