Between all the recent public holidays recently celebrated in South Africa, hubby and I have had our hands full. After some recent work carried out by our local municipality, our water supply was adversely affected and caused a bout of gastroenteritis in not one, but both our little ones. As we have a seven year old son and a 16 month old daughter we were surprised that this sudden illness had two very different outcomes in each of them. So here are a few tips on surviving these days with or without help.

First things first

Identify what is causing the adverse reaction and isolate it as soon as possible. Food poisoning usually manifests itself in very much the same way as gastro but the symptoms typically only last between 24 to 36 hours. In our case we realized rather quickly that our drinking water was the reason for the sudden digestive pyrotechnics. We thus quickly switched over to our canister of prepared water and switched to cooking, drinking and preparing our daughters bottles only with this source.

Soothe and comfort

Our two children have two different approaches to dealing with illness in any shape or form. Our son, now seven years old prefers to lounge, in his PJs with his iPad on the couch or his bed and typically only runs a fever. Our daughter on the other hand (just like mom) likes to be cuddled when she doesn’t feel well. As much as I appreciate the cuddles, carrying a toddler around on my left hip for the largest part of the day can cause havoc on your lower back (but more on that in another post). She becomes very clingy and wants to ensure that I am pretty much in the same room all day.

Address the diet

Most kids won’t want to eat during this time. It is thus very important to keep them hydrated. In our case the prepared water, rooibos tea and diluted fruit juice also helped. I am not a big fan of fizzy drinks but in severe cases they do seem to settle a tummy in pain. Most mommy bloggers and doctors recommend switching your little ones to the BRAT diet during this time.

  • Banana
  • Rice
  • Applesauce
  • Toast

These are good options to include in your children’s meal options at this time.

Monitor symptoms and keep in contact with your healthcare professional

Luckily our kiddos started feeling better around day two, but our little girl was still struggling with her tummy three days later. Even though she was eating well and didn’t seem to be experiencing any discomfort our pharmacist prescribed a good over the counter product to assist with electrolyte replacement and to deal with the tummy issues.

Please note that this post is not intended to replace medical advice and you should contact your healthcare professional should you recognize any of these symptoms. Luckily four days later (and countless loads of laundry, changed outfits and washing of the floors and carpets both kids seem to be on the mend. Let me know what else you do to cope with this and other minor illnesses that you might encounter at home.