Mass Spectrometry & Spectroscopy

  • Do Probiotics Help Children with Tummy Bugs?

Do Probiotics Help Children with Tummy Bugs?

Feb 10 2019 Read 1401 Times

There’s nothing worse than your child suffering with a stomach bug. With constant sickness and no clear solution, the whole situation is miserable for both the child and the person looking after them. Thankfully stomach bugs – or gastroenteritis – is relatively short term. However, it does leave parents or carers looking for potential remedies.

One potential solution is probiotics. Presented as a short cut to the end of a stomach bug, its no surprise that a number of parents jump at the chance to help their child. A probiotic is ‘good’ bacteria which typically comes in pill form. It is supposed to restore an irritated gut and help children feel better quicker. However, recent studies are challenging the reliability and truth behind the supposed ‘cure’ to stomach bugs. Read on as we take a closer look.

Probiotics vs Placebos

Two large studies have recently been published that question the effectiveness of probiotics for sick children – one by David Schnadower and his team and another by Stephen Freedman and colleagues. Both studies looked at children between 3 months and 4 years of age that had been admitted to a hospital’s emergency department.

As well as receiving regular, necessary care, the children were given either a placebo or a probiotic for five days. The kids’ symptoms were then tallied up to see if those with probiotics recovered any quicker than those without. After the five days, researchers found that there were no differences between taking a probiotic or taking a placebo.

Both of the trials tested different bacteria, including Culturelle and Lacidofil. None of the probiotic variations made any difference to the length of time the children were sick and none of their symptoms were reduced or eased by the probiotic. Generally, the children suffered with diarrhea for around two days and missed, on average, two days of nursery or day-care.

How to help your poorly child

So, if probiotics don’t work, what else can you do to help your child through a sickness bug? Well, you’re better off saving the money spent on probiotics and fuelling your child with plenty of fluids and plain foods. Unfortunately, it’s just a case of riding it out and waiting for the worst to be over. The good news is, while probiotics don’t necessarily speed up your child’s recovery, they won’t do any harm either and could potentially help to repair and harm to their gut afterwards.

If you want to find out more about the latest pharmaceutical research, take a look at the article ‘Choosing the Optimum Plasma Spectrochemistry Technique for Measuring Elemental Impurities in Pharmaceuticals’.

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