Q and A: Reflux and Illness

  • Is an acid reflux flare common with illness? My son has had a high fever and we have been alternating Tylenol and Motrin for the fever.  Now all of the sudden his acid reflux is much worse!!

    I have heard many parents say that their child has more issues with reflux when they are sick.  Obviously a stomach bug will definitely irritate a child who already has reflux.  Try to continue medications as directed by the pediatrician and be sure you are not compounding the problem by giving acidic fluids.

    Children who have upper respiratory illnesses will often report more acid reflux issues as well.  The constant coughing can lessen the pressure on the LES and cause more vomiting or reflux episodes. Talk with your child's pediatrician about appropriate cough medications and do not stop giving any acid reflux medications unless your doctor recommends it.

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    Last, Motrin can be very irritating to children who have acid reflux or gastritis.  Tylenol is usually safer on these sensitive tummies but we all know sometimes you need both.  Talk with your pediatrician and find out if it is ok for your child to use Motrin.  If you have gotten the OK for Motrin try to give it on a full stomach.  The food will help buffer the Motrin instead of allowing it to sit right on any potential raw spot.

    It can also help to keep your child's diet extra clean from trigger foods until the illness period passes and reflux has calmed back down.  The best way to avoid this problem is to stay as well as possible by appropriately washing hands, getting enough sleep and eating healthy foods.  Hopefully we can all have a healthy cold and flu season!

Published On: September 05, 2013