A new study has revealed that children with mild gastroenteritis who received diluted apple juice along with their beverage of choice experienced fewer treatment failures such as IV rehydration or hospitalization, compared to children given electrolyte maintenance solution.
Gastroenteritis is a common condition affecting children, and electrolyte maintenance solution is often recommended in order to prevent dehydration, even though it is costly and many children dislike the taste. For the study, researchers randomly assigned children with mild gastroenteritis and minimal dehydration to receive either color-matched half-strength apple juice/preferred fluids or apple-flavored electrolyte maintenance solution. After discharge, the half-strength apple juice group received fluids as desired and the electrolyte group continued with an electrolyte maintenance solution.
Children who received the half-strength apple juice experienced less treatment failure such as intravenous rehydration, hospitalization, emergency doctor visit, extended symptoms. However, diarrhea and vomiting rates were equal between the groups.
The authors wrote, “The present study findings, derived from a larger and more heterogeneous population, confirmed via provincial registries, and conducted in an era when complicated episodes of gastroenteritis have become uncommon, may more accurately reflect the effect rehydration fluid choice has on unscheduled medical visits. 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.”
Also, read Bel Marra Health’s article on Norovirus outbreak, most common cause of gastroenteritis in the U.S.