Modifying the diet

Most illnesses in children don't last more than a few days. During that time, the emphasis should be on keeping the blood glucose from going too high (above 250 mg/dl) or too low (below 80 mg/dl) — not on whether the child is getting enough protein, fat, vitamins, or minerals. (See the previous section for details on carefully monitoring the blood glucose during illness.)

If your child's illness allows him to eat normally, by all means encourage that. If he experiences nausea, vomiting, or both, focus on getting him carbohydrate that's rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream (see the following list). It's also important to keep him well hydrated, but he probably can't tolerate a lot of fluid at one time. Give him small sips of tea with sugar, fruit juice, or soft drinks with real sugar, not diet drinks, encouraging him to drink four times an hour.

The following contain 15 grams of carbohydrate that's rapidly absorbed:

¡^ 1 tablespoon honey ¡^ 4 teaspoons granulated white sugar ¡^ >2 cup fruit juice ¡^ >3 cup plain pudding il K cup ice cream I One small frozen juice bar

Give your child the honey or table sugar in particular if his glucose is low (under 80 mg/dl). You can use the other items in the list to encourage some nutrition when the child refuses to eat regular food.

If your child becomes dehydrated, give him a drink that consists of 4 cups water, 34 teaspoon salt, and 2 tablespoons granulated white sugar. (If the child has a blood glucose level over 250 mg/dl, reduce the amount of sugar in the concoction to 1 tablespoon.) Give him 1 ounce of this drink per year of age per hour. For example, an 8-year-old should drink 8 ounces of this drink per hour or 2 ounces every 15 minutes. Adults can drink apple juice or ginger ale to maintain their hydration.

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