Gastroenteritis And Dehydration In Kids: Apple Juice And Other Fluids Seen As Good Treatment Option

Kids who drank apple juice and other fluids as treatment for mild gastroenteritis and minimal dehydration had less treatment failures than those who drank electrolyte solutions, a new study has shown.  The study was published online in the JAMA Network Journals.

"In many high-income countries, the use of dilute apple juice and preferred fluids as desired may be an appropriate alternative to electrolyte maintenance fluids in children with mild gastroenteritis and minimal dehydration," the researchers said, as per Science Daily. The study was funded by the Physician Services Incorporated Foundation, according to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation

Only 17 Percent Of Those Given Apple Juice Had Treatment Failures

The researchers randomized 647 children between ages six months and five years who were taken to the emergency room because of mild gastroenteritis and minimal dehydration. There were 644 who completed follow-up.

As per Science Daily, seventeen percent of the children who were given half-strength apple juice then instructed to drink other fluids at home experienced treatment failures. Among those given electrolyte solutions, 25 percent experienced treatment failures.

The researchers defined treatment failure by the existence of any of six possible incidents within seven days. These were intravenous rehydration, hospitalization, subsequent unscheduled physician encounter, protracted symptoms, crossover, and 3 percent or more weight loss or significant dehydration at in-person follow-up.

Only 2.5 percent of those given the diluted apple juice and instructed to drink other fluids treatment had intravenous rehydration while it was 9 percent for those given the electrolyte solution treatment. There was no significant difference between the two groups when it came to the rate of hospitalization and diarrhea and vomiting frequency. 

Difference Attributed to Kids' Freedom Of Choice

"We believe this difference is most likely related to kids being allowed to drink liquids they actually like and thus they consumed larger amounts, felt better, and needed intravenous fluids less often," study leader Dr. Stephen Freedman said in a news release from SickKids hospital, as per CTV News. Freedman works with The Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto and the University of Calgary Cumming School of Medicine.

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