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Diarrhea - How to Avoid Dehydration and When to Seek Medical Care
Diarrhea is known as having watery bowel movements, often accompanied by abdominal pain (caused by intestinal cramps) and usually lasts several days. It is a very common condition, often not serious and usually does not require any treatment.
Chronic diarrhea usually lasts over four weeks. This is often a warning sign of a problem in the digestive system and requires a medical inquiry.
The main risk of diarrhea is dehydration due to loss of fluids and salts from the body, especially among infants and patients with chronic diseases.
What Causes Diarrhea?
Most cases of diarrhea are caused by organisms that enter the body. In these cases, the intestines are the aggressive gatekeeper who will make sure to get them out as quickly as possible.
There are also cases where diarrhea is a physiological response to natural or chemical substances that are not good for the body.
Here are the main causes of diarrhea:
Viruses, bacteria or parasites.
Drugs, food and alcohol sensitivity.
A side effect of various diseases.
Dietary Recommendations During Diarrhea
It is not advisable to fast during diarrhea, but it is best to avoid fatty and high-sugar foods and eat small meals during the day. It is also recommended to eat bananas, white rice, apple puree, toast, and boiled potatoes.
If you feel sick, you can suck on ice chips to help with nausea.
Once diarrhea stops, it is possible to return to a normal diet gradually, however, you should avoid drinking alcohol, consuming dairy products, and eating spicy foods for several days.
How to Prevent Dehydration
Make sure to drink a minimum of 8 cups (0.27 oz., 250 ml) of water, tea, and even fresh chicken soup a day.
Eat foods high in water like fruits and vegetables.
Drink herbal tea such as chamomile or mint as it helps calm the digestive system and may relieve cramps and abdominal pain.
Avoid drinking milk, caffeine, alcohol and sugary drinks. It is not recommended to drink fruit juices, because they may aggravate the frequency of diarrhea. Coke is not suitable for dehydration because it is low in salts and rich in sugar, which can also make diarrhea worse.
You can continue breastfeeding your baby while having diarrhea as it helps recovery.
If you experience severe dehydration visit Premier or call 911 ASAP.
When Should You Receive Medical Care?
In any of the following situations occur, please contact us immediately:
Diarrhea is severe – occurs over 10 times in 24 hours.
Does not pass within 2-3 days.
There are signs of dehydration, such as light urine, accelerated heartbeat, headache, dry skin or mouth, confusion and irritability, lack of energy.
High fever over 24 hours.
Abdominal pain over 24 hours.
Diarrhea is accompanied by vomiting.
Diarrhea that occurs during or after a trip, especially to areas with poor hygiene.
Diarrhea in infants, who may be in danger of dehydration.
Elderly patients or those with chronic diseases, especially diabetes, heart disease, kidney, liver or AIDS.