Conventional wisdom says that there is no effective treatment for most infectious diarrhea: some medicines may relieve symptoms, but they don’t help the child to get over the infection faster. Not so!
The April 2002 issue of Pediatrics contains a meta-analysis of eleven separate, well-designed scientific studies of treating diarrhea with Lactobacillus (the beneficial bacteria found in yogurt). The pooled results are impressive. Eating Lactobacillus-containing food such as yogurt, or taking Lactobacillus supplements (10 billion colony forming units over 48 hours), does treat diarrhea and is safe.
On average, children taking Lactobacillus were well almost an entire day sooner, and began having fewer loose stools early in the course of the illness. Shorter duration and decreased severity are profound, proven results for this gentle probiotic approach.
I hope this will soon be used routinely for children with diarrhea. In the US each year, there are 20 to 40 million episodes of diarrhea in children, with over 3 million doctor visits and 160,000 hospitalizations.
Imagine all of the hospital days, missed work/school/daycare days, dirty diapers, hours in waiting rooms, and hours spent caring for miserable children that could disappear if starting yogurt or Lactobacillus at the beginning of diarrhea became the routine!
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