Wednesday, May 6, 2009
Pediatric diarrhea can be extremely stressful for parents, especially in babies and toddlers. Adult anti-diarrheal medications are not recommended for young children, which often leaves parents with only “watchful waiting” as an option.
Probiotics are a new health buzzword, and can be a drug-free method of helping to manage children’s intestinal issues. However, it’s important to do your homework. Because probiotics are supplements and therefore not subject to government regulation, it’s important to look for a probiotic that has sound scientific testing behind it, and that is appropriate for your child’s issues.
Dr. James Sears, board-certified pediatrician, author and co-host of the CBS-TV show “The Doctors,” has recommended Florastor Kids to patients for years, first of all because he’s seen its efficacy in pediatric diarrhea, and because it’s backed by scientific studies.
Dr. Sears answers some common questions about Florastor® Kids below:
Q: What are the most common causes of pediatric diarrhea?
A: Like most things in pediatrics, diarrhea is usually caused by a virus. The most common diarrhea-causing viruses are Rotavirus and Norovirus, but most parents just call them “stomach flu”. Kids can also get diarrhea as a side effect of antibiotics.
Q: How should a parent handle food and drink for a child with diarrhea?
A: The key to treating diarrhea is to keep your child hydrated and nourished. Breastmilk, formula, or electrolyte solutions are best for this, also, easy to digest foods will help keep the tummy happy. Cow’s milk can make diarrhea worse, so lay off this for a few days.
Q: At what point should a child with diarrhea be taken to the emergency room?
A: If your child is losing more fluid than he can take in, he runs the risk of becoming dehydrated. This is especially true if he is also vomiting. It’s often the second day of illness when a child will become dehydrated, so watch for decreased urine output – number of wet diapers is less, or trips to the bathroom are less. If your child becomes lethargic, this is also a reason to call the doctor.
Q: Do you recommend probiotics for kids?
A: I’ve been recommending probiotics for years, and it’s now a recognized treatment for kids when they have diarrhea. When kids get diarrhea, a probiotic can help replenish the “good” bacteria that is supposed to be living in the intestine – which will improve their digestion.
Q: What is Florastor Kids?
A: Florastor Kids is a natural probiotic that supports the presence of beneficial (“good”) microbiota in the intestines, which helps keep pathogenic (“bad” or “disease-causing”) microbiota (like bacteria and viruses) from attacking the gut.
Q: What is the active ingredient in Florastor Kids and how does it work?
A: The active ingredient in Florastor Kids is a freeze-dried form of yeast called Saccharomyces boulardii lyo. It helps promote the growth of good microbiota, while attracting and removing pathogens from the intestines.
Q: Have any clinical tests been done to demonstrate the safety and efficacy of Florastor Kids?
A: Yes. The active ingredient in Florastor Kids, Saccharomyces boulardii lyo, has been studied in more than 40 clinical trials. Studies have been published in top medical journals, including the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) and Gastroenterology magazine.
Q: How do the effects of Florastor Kids differ from those of bacteria-based probiotics, such as acidophilus?
A: One of the key differences in a yeast-based probiotic, such as Florastor Kids, is that it can not be killed by antibiotics, and it, in turn, protects the body’s own flora during the course of antibiotic treatment to guard against antibiotic-associated diarrhea. Antibiotic-associated diarrhea occurs when antibiotics disturb the natural balance of “good” and “bad” microbiota in the intestinal tract, causing harmful bacteria to grow far beyond their normal numbers. The result is often frequent, watery bowel movements.
Q: Which kids could benefit from Florastor Kids?
A: Florastor Kids has been proven effective in managing a wide variety of intestinal problems, but is often used to help with:
• Antibiotic-Associated Diarrhea (AAD)
• Acute gastroenteritis (general, sudden onset diarrhea)
• Traveler’s diarrhea
• Clostridium difficile-associated diarrhea (C. diff)
• Chronic inflammatory intestinal conditions, such as Ulcerative Colitis or Crohn’s
Q: Why would a parent choose to treat a bout of diarrhea with Florastor Kids as opposed to an anti-diarrheal product?
A: Anti-diarrheal medications such as loperamide (Imodium) are typically not recommended for young children. Florastor Kids helps remove toxins from the intestines and at the same time bolsters the body’s defense against the pathogens.
Q: How should Florastor Kids be taken?
A: Florastor Kids is a fruit-flavored powder that comes in packets. The powder can be mixed into water, milk, juice or soft foods (such as applesauce), and should be taken twice a day.
Q: How long can Florastor Kids be taken?
A: There is no reason that Florastor Kids can not be taken every day, but it is most often taken once symptoms start, and until symptoms stop. It is recommended to start taking the same day as antibiotic treatment and stopping it once the course of antibiotics is complete. For those wishing to protect themselves from traveler’s diarrhea, it is recommended that Florastor Kids be taken starting four days before the trip starts, and finishing four days after the trip ends.
Q: Who should not take Florastor Kids?
A: Children under two months of age, as well as those with yeast allergies and central venous catheters.
Q: Does Florastor Kids need to be refrigerated?
A: No. Florastor Kids’ freeze-drying process means that the product does not need to be refrigerated, making it ideal for travel.
Q: I went to a few pharmacies in my area and could not find Florastor Kids on the shelves. What can I do?
A: Try asking the pharmacist. Even though it does not require a prescription, many pharmacists may keep it behind the counter so that they can explain its benefits, particularly if they recommend taking it with antibiotics. On www.florastor.com there is a list of local and online pharmacies that stock Florastor Kids.
See my Review of Florastor® Kids here.