Diarrhea and Dehydration: Two Brothers-In-Harm

With aggravating manner in hygiene and sanitation, infectious diseases are likely to string up in a large population, but it is best assured than none of these will be lewd than diarrhea. Often times, we are moved with the frivolities of pampering ourselves with ‘delicious’ and ‘sweet’ foods without cautious steps in preventing future alimentary issues.

In the words of Wiktionary English 2.3, Diarrhea is a condition in which there is frequent and watery bowel movement. If a person has three liquid stools in a row, it is a cue that calls for concern and probably a bigger warning of dehydration. Dehydration – the loss of excessive water from the body might result in chemical imbalances that can threaten one’s life.

There are numerous cases of diarrhea on a daily basis. It is a common condition even though there are no statistics to it simply because patients have found to manage it by mere procrastination or self-medication. Diarrhea may go away on its own by restricting your patient to clear fluids and avoiding solid food for some time. It is also advisable to keep the patient on a 12-hour restriction to external diets capable of stirring up the condition.

Nevertheless, there are some indications that may arise needless of diarrhea and show signs of an unknown and a more serious ailment. These indications include:

  • A temperature of above 38˚C
  • Blood or mucus in the stool
  • Abnormal abdominal distension
  • Black or any other colour of stool
  • Severe vomiting
  • Severe diarrhea and dehydration lasting to 3 days.

All these above may be signs of appendicitis, intestinal bleeding or even liver dysfunctional. More so, all of the above will be evident when there is difficulty in retaining fluid balances.

Epidemics caused by organisms that cause diarrhea have been a part of the human life since long before recorded history. Cholera is one particularly dangerous disease that was epidemic in the past and has continued being a menace in recent times. This infection will produce a profuse watery diarrhea with abdominal pain. Although there is a vaccination, it is not very effective; therefore, it is safe not to recommend it at all.

The end result (and most common cause of death) of untreated diarrheal illness is dehydration. A large proportion of body’s weight is made up of water; the average adult requires 2 to 3 liters of fluid per day to check and balance irregularities. Children become dehydrated more easily than adults: An estimated figure of 4 million children die every year in underdeveloped countries from dehydration due to diarrhea and other causes.

There are different ways to combat dehydration. A major method is by fluid replacement. This is by using clear fluids especially water and broth. Gelatin and Gatorade are also utilized.

After this option, there are more effective ways. Although unnoticed, Oral Rehydration salts are commercially available but it is possible to produce homemade rehydration salts in small or large quantities depending on factors seen in choice, severity and tolerance.  To a liter of water, Add:

  • Few spoons of sugar
  • Two spoons of salt
  • Half teaspoon of normal salt (might be potassium chloride)
  • A pinch of baking soda

Note: It is wise to stay away from milk as some are lactose intolerant.

A popular technique to ensure quick recovery from dehydration is the BRAT diet, commonly used in cases relating to children. This diet contains:

  • Banana
  • Rice
  • Applesauce
  • Toast [usually plain]

An added edge of this over other methods is that the food items are bland, which will slow down intestinal motility. This will decelerate diarrhea and ultimately, dehydration.

 

This article was written by Alex Ndace; he tweets via @AlexNdace

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