The Dietary Treatment Program team receives multiple phone calls and emails this time of year. Whether from our patient families or outside hospitals/doctor offices, they all revolve around the same thing — my keto kid is sick! What do I do?
Being sick is no fun for even the healthiest of individuals. When a child who is on the ketogenic diet or another dietary treatment gets sick, getting the proper nutrients to keep up their treatment plan can get complicated.
Whether it’s a nasty cold, a GI bug or other virus, try these tips to stay on track and get back to being healthy as soon as possible.
Try making a smoothie.
You can let your child sip on that throughout the day to see if they can tolerate it. It does not need to be given at a specific time or consumed in one sitting like a meal.
Ease back in with protein and carbs.
When your child’s appetite returns, offer the protein and carbohydrate portion of their meal first. The fat portion is heavier and if they’ve had an upset stomach, they might not be ready for it yet. Continue the protein and carbohydrate portion only, for a few days if needed, and slowly re-introduce the fat even if it is just half the amount at first.
Always encourage fluids!
Hydration is key to the healing process and no one wants to end up in the Emergency Department for dehydration. Blood sugars should be checked twice a day when your child is sick. If your child is only accepting fluids, it is safe to give a carbohydrate exchange every 3 to 4 hours.
The ketogenic diet manual is an excellent resource in case your child is prescribed a medication. If you have any questions about fat coverage for medications please contact your medical team directly through your myCHOP account, or call us with any questions.
We’ll need to know:
- Name of the drug and manufacturer
- Strength or dose of the medication and the frequency you will be giving it
- Form (tablet, capsule, sprinkle, liquid)
- The NDC number which is listed on the pamphlet that comes from your pharmacist
Until you hear from us, it is OK to give one exchange of dietary fat with a dose of medication to cover the unknown amount of carbohydrates.
Last but not least, don’t forget proper handwashing! Regular handwashing with soap and water for 20 seconds is key to avoiding the spread of germs. Check out these helpful handwashing tips.