Diarrhoea is a disease that is spread from one person to another due to infection from an organism. According to statistics, India falls behind the rest of the world because of the large number of people who do not have access to proper bathrooms which leads to open defecation, a practice common in rural parts of the country.
According to the study performed by the Global Enteric Multicenter Study (GEMS), it was found that the most common diarrhoea causing virus is the rotavirus. This virus is mainly spread by the fecal-oral route. This means, that the virus spreads from one person to another when the food or water they consume is contaminated.
Most commonly, diarrhoea is caused due to -
Apart from this there are certain non-infectious conditions that can be the cause of diarrhoea. These include -
Read about loose motions in babies might not always suggest diarrhoea.
Diarrhoea is a condition where a person passes 3 or more loose watery stools per day, or that is more than normal for that person. It may be accompanied with -
Read about how washing your hands before meals will prevent these 8 diseases.
A doctor will first do a physical exam and ask the patient about his/her symptoms. If further investigations are required he/she may need the patient to give a blood test and stool sample. This is usually done to find out the exact cause of the diarrhoea.
Read more about Diarrhoea and Pneumonia: The biggest killer diseases of kids!
The commonly employed treatment options for diarrhoea include -
Keep yourself well hydrated: During a bout of diarrhoea one loses a lot of essential electrolytes from the body very quickly, dehydration can set in if these electrolytes are not replaced adequately. So, it is a good idea to have water with either an electrolyte solution available at any chemist shop or with salt and sugar at regular intervals. Here are 7 foods that can keep you hydrated.
Avoid fatty and spicy foods: These kind of foods are difficult to digest and can lead to further inflammation of an already troubled stomach. So, stick to easily digestible foods like khichdi or curd rice. Here are 8 reasons why boiled vegetables are good for you.
Get enough rest: It is not a good idea to continue with their normal daily routine even when they are sick. This is because it will not only deplete their abilities to heal faster, will expose their already low immunity to a variety of infections and make them prone to spreading the infection to other individuals. Read about 10 ways to help your child sleep better.
Visit a doctor: No matter how mild the condition is, it is best to visit a doctor. This will help the physician catch any serious condition in the early stages or treat one specifically for the type of infection and help relieve the symptoms associated with diarrhoea.
Here's an app -- ‘Can I eat this’ to prevent traveller’s diarrhoea
While a simple infectious diarrhoea may heal on its own, there are some conditions that need further medical attention. You should visit a doctor if you see -
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Blood in your stools
If the diarrhoea is very frequent
If you notice stools that are black in colour (usually a symptom of blood in the stools)
If there is severe abdominal pain or cramps
Pain in the anal region
Fever or dehydration.
Here some tips you can try to prevent diarrhoea -
Wash your hands thoroughly before and after you eat something, after you visit the bathroom and have been to a crowded place.
Do not eat food from unsanitary or unknown places – especially street food. This is because no matter how clean the area looks, you never know where the cook gets his/her water supply from, if they are clean and have washed their hands or if the food has been prepared under sanitary conditions.
Boil the water you drink. It is essential to boil the water you drink for several minutes before you use it for any purpose.
If someone in your house is suffering from diarrhoea, make sure you disinfect the toilet, the flush handle, door handle and faucet of the taps. Preventing the transmission of bacteria is the best way to prevent the condition. Here is 9-step healthy guide to use the public toilet.
In the case of children
it is especially important to wash their hands regularly,
the things that they commonly put in their mouths thoroughly and that they are taken to the doctor soon. Read more about Diarrhoea -
Prevention is better than cure.
The content has been verified by
Dr Pradip Shah, Consultant Physician at Fortis Hospital, Mumbai.