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Back in June my six year old had chicken pox, and at the same time developed an upset stomach which may or may not have been related. Ordinarily I won't medicate for stomach issues (other than maybe a dose of Calpol if they're in pain) as I think if your child has the squirts it's their body's way of getting rid of whatever has caused the problem in the first place - but poor Hollie was scratching like a demon, feverish from the chicken pox and it seemed the height of cruelty to make her suffer a bad tummy too. There isn't much you can do for stomach ache so when we popped out to get the pharmacist to check a particularly nasty spot on her back I decided to ask for advice about her stomach complaint too - she said she doesn't like to really recommend things for stomach problems (citing the same reasons as me) but when she saw the state poor Hollie was in with her myriad health issues (at the time) she grabbed a bottle of Kaolin and said we could try that.
The active ingredients in Care+ Kaolin Mixture are Light Kaolin (1g), sodium bicarbonate (250mg) and sodium (68mg) - this, according to the bottle, is based on a 5ml dose and because of the sodium it's not to be used for children with kidney problems or those who are on a reduced salt diet. I wasn't asked any of these questions by the pharmacist but on the back of the bottle details are given regarding the section of children who shouldn't use the Kaolin Mixture.
The dosage for children between the ages of six and twelve is 1 - 2 x 5ml spoonfuls, Hollie celebrated her sixth birthday a couple of days after we spoke to the pharmacist and I was assured the fact that she was still five wouldn't make a scrap of difference - the age limit is there for a reason however, if your child isn't as close to being six as Hollie was then they really shouldn't take it unless you speak to your GP first. Likewise if they experience their stomach symptoms for more than three days, at whatever age, a doctor should be consulted as if nothing else children can easily become dehydrated when they have the runs and this needs to be checked if it's a relatively long running problem (and three days is seriously long time when you can't get off the loo!).
It's quite chalky and the bottle needs to be given a good shake before use, this I found quite tricky when the bottle was completely full as the semi-thick liquid doesn't shake very well at the best of times and when you only have a very small space at the top of the bottle it's pretty hard - I actually ended up tipping a little bit down the sink to free up some space in order that I could shake the mixture properly; there's a pretty big difference in the consistency before and after shaking so it's very important to do this, I reckon a plastic bottle would be a much better idea to make shaking easier as there's no give in glass.
I wouldn't say this is a miracle product and at times I honestly think it's little more than a placebo, since they took the Morphine out of these products it doesn't really help with the pain of an upset tummy (although I've never used Kaolin for a child before so don't know whether the paediatric version EVER contained Morphine, I suspect not). I used it in conjunction with both Calpol and the kiddies version of Nurofen, not specifically for her stomach ache but because she was already taking these medicines to ward off the symptoms of chicken pox anyway - they helped to stop the cramping a little, but unfortunately didn't get rid of the pain completely.
What the Kaolin did was make the period of time between visits to the toilet longer, and also ensured I could get a little food and drink into her without risking it immediately coming out the other end! The diarrhoea was lessened to a point and although she was still doing to the toilet a lot more than she should have been her stools were a little more solid after she'd had a couple of doses of Kaolin rather than being the pure liquid of the previous day. I gave her a dose every four hours for the period in which she was suffering from her stomach upset (which didn't impress her as she hated the taste) and it did help to a degree, although it's hard to say really as children recover from illnesses so quickly that the bug may have simply run its course by the time she'd taken a couple or three doses of Kaolin. If nothing else it made me feel better that I was actually doing something to manage this nasty illness, and I do think it helped slightly even if the effects weren't so pronounced as to stop her having the runs altogether.
I bought my 200ml bottle of Kaolin Mixture from Lloyds chemist and paid around £1.29 for it. Once opened it can only be kept for two months, which is coming up, so I'll bin it soon and if (when!) one of the kids gets an upset stomach again I'll just buy another bottle - actually I've just noticed it's thickened up a little despite me keeping it in precisely the conditions suggested in the bottle (a cool dark place - the medicine cabinet) so next time I buy it I'll probably throw the remainder away as soon as the illness has passed as for that price it's not going to cause any hardship to buy it again and open a fresh bottle for each period of sickness.
Kaolin Paediatric Mixture is used in relief of diarrhoea & upset stomach in children.