Facts and Definition of Diarrhea
• Diarrhea is the frequent passage of loose, watery, soft stools with or without abdominal bloating, pressure, and cramps commonly referred to as gas or flatulence.
• Causes of diarrhea include viral and bacterial infections, as well as parasites, intestinal disorders or diseases, reactions to medications, and food intolerance.
• The main symptom of diarrhea is watery, liquid stools. In addition, other symptoms of diarrhea include:
◦ Stomach cramps
◦ Bowel movement urgency
Do’s and don’ts for diarrhea
Diarrhea ordinarily clears up on its own. For a mild case of diarrhea, here’s how to manage your discomfort at home:
• Drink certain liquids Try broth, diluted fruit juices (except prune juice) and beverages containing electrolytes, such as Gatorade. Drinks that have electrolytes help replace the fluids and body chemicals lost during diarrhea.
• Drink enough liquids Drink enough liquids daily so that you urinate about every four hours. If you have diarrhea and your urine is dark, you may be getting dehydrated. This is a clue to drink more fluids.
Eat low-fiber foods (only when you have diarrhea) As your symptoms improve or your stools become formed, start to eat low-fiber foods, such as bananas, rice, khichdi, curd, butter milk apples, toast etc. Don’t consume greasy or fatty foods, milk, or highly seasoned foods for a few days.
• Individuals caring for sick children or adults in any setting should carefully wash their hands after changing diapers, helping an individual use the bathroom, or assisting an individual around the home.
• Children should be instructed to wash their hands frequently, especially after using the bathroom.
• Fruits and vegetables consumed raw should be thoroughly rinsed in clean water.
• Unpasteurized (raw) milk may be contaminated with bacteria and should always be avoided. Unpasteurized fruit juice or cider should generally be avoided .
Use caution when traveling, especially to foreign countries. Do not eat foods from street vendors.
Short-term diarrhea doesn’t require antibiotics. And for most cases, you don’t need an over-the-counter anti-diarrheal product. These may slow the elimination of the infectious agent and actually prolong your diarrhea. Situations vary, though, so ask your doctor about your specific case. If your diarrhea gets worse, or if you have a high fever, abdominal pain, or bloody stools contact your doctor or health care professional again.