Fighting Diarrhea with Gatorade by Saia Hafoka
Posted by benjamincrookston on April 10, 2008
The first time I had ever heard of a child (or anyone in that matter) dying because of diarrhea was on my mission in Nicaragua. I was blown away that it could even happen. I mean, I’ve had my days with that thing but never thought I could take someone’s life.
Learning more about diarrheal diseases the first few days of class got me thinking about it. There’s no absolute cure for it, but there is Oral Rehydration Solution to prevent dehydration. The ORS is what is mainly used when dealing with diarrheal episodes in developing countries. The only thing I had heard of that was used to prevent dehydration was Gatorade and Pedialyte. I was wondering if there were any studies done about children who had diarrhea and were given Gatorade or Pedialyte. I haven’t tasted the ORS but have seen how it is prepared and I’m sure Gatorade tastes a lot better. I wondered if Gatorade was not used not only because of the cost of the brand name, but because the sugar would prevent it from being effective.
I decided to look up anything that has been done with Gatorade, Pedialyte and diarrheal diseases and its effectiveness. I found an article in the Child Health Alert Journal (Dec 2005) that talked about a study done by the American College of Gastroentology in India. Gatorade and Pedialyte were found to have reduced some problems in stomach flu (such as stool frequency) and body weight. But Gatorade was less effective than Pedialyte in reducing potassium loss.
I just thought it would be interesting to find out if there had been any studies. From what I could find, the results of the study in India haven’t been published yet. I’m still blown away that children can die from diarrheal diseases and that it can be prevented by rehydration. If I find any news about it I’ll let you know!