In medical terms, a person who has been passing loose or watery stool for more than 3 times per day is suffering from diarrhea. The most common explanation for this unpleasant condition is gastroenteritis, which may affect both children and adult patients. Gastroenteritis is bowel infection caused by viruses such as Rotavirus or Norovirus, some parasites or by bacteria from contaminated food.
Too much alcohol or excess intake of caffeine may also be the explanation behind diarrhea in adult patients, or it can be associated with the use of certain medications and be their side effect.
Diarrhea - Medical Treatment
Many times, diarrhea doesn’t have to be treated with some medications. In most adult patients, this problem resolves in a matter of days, when the infection passes. Usually, people suffer from loose stools for 2 to 4 days. However, if you, for some reason, have to shorten the recovery you could take some anti-diarrheal drugs. Any diarrhea that lasts for longer than few weeks or bloody or pus in the stool must be reported to your doctor.
Kids may experience somewhat longer problems with diarrhea, for it usually lasts for about a week or maybe two weeks. If diarrhea lasts longer than two weeks, make sure to visit your doctor. Also, never give any anti-diarrheal medication to children. Another reason to consult your doctor may be 6 or even more diarrhea episodes in 24 hours and the patient is a baby or a small child. Never underestimate the problem, because diarrhea may provoke serious dehydration in young children.
How to Prevent Diarrhea?
Food hygiene is the main prerogative to prevent diarrhea from food poisoning. Make sure to regularly wash your hands, utensils and surfaces where you prepare the food with hot and soapy water. Any raw and already cooked food should be stored separately and all food should be kept in the refrigerator. Never eat anything that passed sell-by date and make sure to cook every food thoroughly.
When traveling to the country known for poor public hygiene and possible water contamination, avoid drinking tap water and any fruit juices on the street, as well as ice cubes or ice creams. Don’t eat any sauces, mayonnaise, peeled fruits, salads, eggs or shellfish, in order to avoid passenger’s diarrhea. Undercooked and raw meat is also bad idea.
Infectious cases of diarrhea are easily controlled by washing the hands every time you use bathroom and regular cleaning of the toilet. Avoid sharing the towels or flannels with other members of the household and stay away from sharing utensils and cutlery. Make sure to recuperate for at least 48hours after diarrhea before you turn back to your regular work.
What Can You Eat?
Travellers’ diarrhea is not going to affect people drinking tea or coffee, even in countries with poor hygiene. You can also safely eat some sealed bottled water produced by some well known manufacturer, fresh bread, unpeeled fruits and cooked or canned food. You are also free to drink some alcohol, for this shouldn’t cause diarrhea.