Diarrhea usually happens to young children, but can sometimes occur in adults as well. Diarrhea is a disease that can last from 3 to 15 days, but almost always stops on its own. In most cases, it is not fatal, but causes water to be drained from the body, which, if left replenished, can lead to fatal dehydration.
Diarrhea is more dangerous in children than adults as the amount of water drained from the body is equal in both age groups. A normal adult weighing 70kg can lose up to a liter of water in a single day due to diarrhea, whereas a child weighing only 7kg will lose more or less the same amount of water. Normally a child may develop diarrhea 10 to 12 times between their birth and the age of 5. From 5 to 7 years of age, it usually occurs only 2 to 3 times.
The main cause of diarrhea is infection, which can be caused by eating stale or contaminated foods, unpurified water, or infection spread via flies.
Diarrhea is contagious when proper hygiene is not maintained. If any member of the family has diarrhea, the toilet should be cleaned with phenol or antiseptic solution after every use, as the germs spread very rapidly.
The following are a few common symptoms of diarrhea:
- Feeling of weakness and extremely thirst
- 10 to 15 loose bowel movements or more, sometimes followed by vomiting
- Stomach cramps and pain, and in some cases a loss of consciousness.
What to do when you have diarrhea?
- It is important to keep your house clean and use bug spray to keep mosquitoes and flies out of the house. These insects can spread the infection to other members of your family.
- Maintaining the patient’s personal hygiene is very important. Frequent loose bowel movements and vomiting can spoil a patient’s clothes. It is important to change clothes, bed sheets, and towels whenever necessary. Also, make sure to keep the area around the patient clean, and avoid crowding around him/her. Wash hands with antiseptic solution every time you use the toilet.
- Keep all food items covered and avoid eat things from outside
- Drink only purified or boiled water
- Never let the patient or any member of the family relive themselves in open space as this can spread infection
- Do not stop breastfeeding if your child has diarrhea. It is essential to maintain the fluid level in your baby’s body body
- Try to give fluid to the patient in short intervals, such as ORS, coconut water, lentil water, lassi (curd) etc. Even if the patient is vomiting, do not stop giving them fluids.
- Consult a doctor if the situation worsen, and do not hesitate to admit the patient to a hospital.