When a child is sick, we’re told to keep them hydrated. However, not all drinks are created equal when it comes to keeping children healthy. In fact, some drinks could do more harm than good.
When a child gets sick, the most common advice is to get lots of rest and drink lots of fluids. That advice is given because a fever causes more water to evaporate from the body. Fluid is needed to replenish that water.
Fluid does double duty for a sick child. It will rehydrate as well as thin mucus, alleviating a stuffy nose. If your child isn’t interested in drinking water, it may seem easy to hand them the sugar juice box that they ask for. However, you’ll want to think again before reaching for the seemingly convenient drink.
Sugary drinks don’t have the same health benefits as healthier options. The high level of sugar and low level of sodium combine to make stomach issues worse. The risk of diarrhea and dehydration increases, as the body must use more water to dilute the amount of sugar that is ingested. Most fruit juices are less fruit and more sugar. Soda should also be avoided when dealing with a sick child.
Water is the obvious choice when deciding which fluid to give your child. As water is evaporating from the body, you’ll want to replace it with more water. In addition to water, some other fluids have the water and salt balance that is needed for rehydration. Drinks with electrolytes, such as Leolyte, are a good alternative to sugary juices. They have the right mix of sugar and salt, along with more flavor than a simple glass of water.
A sick child often needs to be comforted. A warm drink may be just the thing to soothe your child. Try a cup of warm, decaffeinated tea. Adding honey to the tea will add flavor and will also help to reduce coughing and a sore throat. When an aching stomach stops the child from eating, clear soups can also be a warm, comforting, and helpful liquid to help restore fluids and get some much-needed calories.
You now know why keeping your child hydrated is so important. However, making sure that your child takes in enough fluids may be easier said than done. If water doesn’t sound like an appetizing choice, there are some things you can do to encourage staying hydrated.
When your child is sick, keeping him or her hydrated is a great first step to fighting illness. Encourage your child to drink a small amount of liquid at frequent intervals throughout the day. Choosing healthy drinks will help to regain energy and get your child back to feeling healthy.
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