When you think about that questionable burrito you once consumed at a gas station and how you suffered the heartburn for hours thereafter, would you ever want your little one to have to endure that agony? No, definitely not as it can linger for hours and even cause permanent damages if left untreated too long.
How do you know if your child is living with reflux? Typically they will vocalize their symptoms as feeling like their chest hurts or as if their throat feels like it’s burning from the acid rising up through the esophagus. It can be rather painful and not something you ever want your child to live with. It’s easily treated by your pediatrician with over the counter medications, or stronger prescription varieties.
According to the New York Times, there are currently over 97,000 children from infancy to 14 years old were given acid suppressors out of the 850,000 surveyed by researchers. Some 8,000 were administered commonly used PPI’s (proton pump inhibitors, think Nexium) and 71,000 took H2 variations (such as Pepcid), and 18,000 received both. For those that were administered some form of proton pump inhibitor by their first birthday were more prone to fractures. The rates were even higher for those that also had H2 antagonists rising to some 31% for those that were taking these medications as infants.
What can a parent do at this point if your child is suffering from an acid challenge? Speak with your pediatrician about any natural forms of treatment that you can attempt first if your child is able to tolerate them. Some other options are to change their diet to better suit their bouts of reflux; of course this isn’t usually an option for infants, but for older children this can be a huge life changer.
Some children will only require over the counter medications such as Tums chewables to get through any short term attacks, and document when the attacks are happening and what foods were eaten prior to and review those notes with your child’s doctor.