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For Release: January, 2009 or anytime thereafter

Getting Through Gastroenteritis
A Guide for Parents

by Charlotte Cowan, M.D.

Coming to the rescue of the millions of parents whose children suffer every year from gastroenteritis (stomach flu) is Dr. Charlotte Cowan, a board-certified pediatrician and a Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics. As part of her award-winning Dr. Hippo Series of children’s books, Dr. Cowan has written Getting Through Gastroenteritis: A Guide for Parents. This is included with her latest title, The Moose with Loose Poops ($17.95 hardcover,

The Guide for Parents is an 8-page laminated pamphlet that answers parents’ most frequently asked questions. It offers clear suggestions about what to do and when to call for help with a sick child.

Among the questions covered, the most basic one is: How will I know that my child has gastroenteritis?

Dr. Cowan writes: You will know that your child is sick if he:

  • Develops a fever, vomiting, or diarrhea
  • Gets unusually cranky, hard to settle down
  • Appears to have a stomach ache that comes and goes
  • Loses his appetite
  • Changes his normal stooling pattern
  • Seems very tired

In the Guide she offers special boxed TIPS, one of which is: Gastroenteritis often frightens a sick child. Knowing what is wrong (and that it will be over soon!) will reassure him. On the sample page, shown here, Dr. Cowan answers the question: When should I worry/call the doctor?

She addresses several other questions in the Guide, each with reassuring advice. They include:
What is gastroenteritis?
What are the complications of vomiting/diarrhea?
What about medications?
How can I help my child feel better?
How can I keep the rest of my family from getting sick?
When may my child return to day care or school?

Another TIP explains the biggest problem with gastroenteritis — dehydration. This occurs when a child loses more fluid (through vomiting and diarrhea) than he is able to drink. The best way a parent can help a child with gastroenteritis is to give him lots of fluid. “But avoid sugary drinks like full-strength juice or soda,” urges Dr. Cowan, “since these can make diarrhea worse.”

Dr. Cowan makes clear that the purpose of her pamphlet is to educate parents and other caregivers. While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information, the content of the pamphlet (and the book) should not be construed as definitive medical advice and is not a substitute for the professional judgment of a child’s health care provider in diagnosing and treating illness. However, the next time parents are concerned about their child’s case of “loose poops,” they can review their copy of Getting Through Gastroenteritis: A Guide for Parents to remind themselves what to look for and what to do.

Sample page and information reprinted with permission from Getting Through Gastroenteritis: A Guide for Parents, a pamphlet available in copies of The Moose with Loose Poops by Charlotte Cowan, M.D., $17.95 hc, available at bookstores nationwide, online or by calling 1-800-462-6420. Visit for additional information.

The Moose with Loose Poops by Charlotte Cowan, M.D. illustrated by Penelope Neal Color illustrations throughout 32 pages • 9.25" x 8.5" For children ages 2 - 7 ISBN-13: 978-09753516-5-9 $17.95 dust-jacketed hardcover Publication date: January 2009 Published by The Hippocratic Press, Concord, MA. The book will be available at bookstores nationwide with distribution being handled by National Book Network (NBN). It will also be available online or by calling 1-800-462-6420.

Read more about the Dr. Hippo Series at