Home remedy: What to do when baby is in pain

By on December 28, 2015


What home remedies can be used for babies and young children having diarrhoea? How long is diarrhoea likely to continue and what symptoms should we be looking for that need medical attention?



The most important aspect of treating diarrhoea in babies and young children is to replace the fluid which is being lost. This means the child should be encouraged to drink. The ideal fluid is breast milk, although diarrhoea is uncommon in an exclusively breastfed baby. For an older child the best thing to drink is ‘Oral Rehydration Solution’ – a product with that name has recently become available over the counter in Japan; it contains the right proportions of minerals (sodium, potassium, magnesium, chloride) and sugar for treating diarrhoea. It is best to drink little and often to avoid vomiting by overloading the stomach. Otherwise, plain water, varied with diluted fruit juice is fine.  ‘Sports drinks’ can be used but they tend to be too sweet. A simple (and cheap!) rehydration fluid can be made by dissolving two level teaspoonfuls of white sugar in 200ml of water. Salt should not be added to this mixture. Medicines to control diarrhoea should not be used in babies or young children.

The most common cause of gastroenteritis (diarrhoea and vomiting) is infection with the rotavirus. There may be initial vomiting and this is followed by diarrhoea which can last up to five days. As always, what matters is the child’s general condition. If vomiting is infrequent or absent, the child is alert and drinking readily, one need not be too worried. However, dehydration is always a concern, and if parents are unsure of what to do they should obtain medical advice promptly. If home treatment is not adequate the next step would be hospital admission for intravenous fluids.


About Dr. Gabriel Symonds

Dr. Gabriel Symonds was the director of the Tokyo British Clinic. The clinic closed down in May 2014 after serving the expatriate community for 20+ years. Dr. Symonds has retired and the Tokyo British Clinic is now closed. Dr Symonds will continue to live in Tokyo and may be contacted by e-mail over any questions concerning medical records or related matters: symonds@tokyobritishclinic.com He will be available from another address for: smoking cessation psychotherapy/counselling circumcision information Tel: (03) 5458-6099 www.tokyobritishclinic.com