The days following Halloween are sure to be filled with bragging rights at school for many children – who got the most candy, the best candy or that full-sized chocolate bar. But don’t let the Halloween fun turn into the runs. Too much refined sugar and chocolate can cause stomach upset and even diarrhea in children. Sugar-free candy is not exempt either. Sorbitol, an ingredient in sugar-free candy, can be the cause for unwanted gastrointestinal side effects as well.
Prevention is the best medicine. As much as possible, limit the amount of candy eaten at one time as well as throughout the day. If your child has over-indulged and is experiencing a stomachache, encourage your child to stay away from their Halloween stash until they are feeling better. The same is true if your child is experiencing diarrhea. Children should drink clear liquids and eat a bland diet until 24 hours after the diarrhea has resolved. Clear liquids will keep your child hydrated and the bland diet will calm the inflammation in their gut.
Seek medical care right away if your child’s diarrhea is accompanied with a fever of 102 F (38.9 C) or higher, seems more tired than normal or is very irritable, is in a lot of discomfort or pain, has bloody diarrhea, or seems dehydrated (watch for signs of dehydration in sick infants and children by comparing how much they drink and urinate with how much is normal for them. Especially for infants, crying without tears is warning sign for dehydration).