Diarrhea And How To Prevent It.

Diarrhea means passing frequent, loose and watery stools three (3) or more times in a day. Diarrhea is often accompanied by vomiting.

It is very common in children. The commonest cause in this age group is viral. There is therefore usually no need to prescribe antibiotics. Fluid loss occur quickly in children because of their size. If this is not corrected it may result in dehydration which can be fatal. In children other diseases like malaria, pneumonia, ear infections and urinary infections may cause diarrhea. Examine the child fully to make sure there is no obvious cause for the diarrhea. The presence of a fever usually indicates an underlying cause.

Never take the complaint of diarrhea lightly. Always ask how many times that day and the day before the patient has been to the toilet, and the texture of the stools. To one person who usually passes stool once in three (3) days, a motion every day seems like diarrhea, but to another person this is normal.

Giving antibiotics may cause or prolong the diarrhea except in special circumstances. Malnutrition causes diarrhea, which in turn also causes malnutrition, setting up a vicious cycle. Never give enemas or laxatives to patient with diarrhea.

CAUSES

  • Viral e.g. Rotavirus
  • Bacterial e.g. Shigella
  • Protozoal e.g. Amoebae
  • Side effects of some medicines e.g. Penicillins.

SYMPTOMS

  • Frequent watery stools
  • Blood or mucus in the stool
  • Presence of fever
  • Reduced urine output
  • Associate vomiting

NON PHARMACOLOGICAL TREATMENT

  • Keep surroundings clean
  • Improve personal hygiene e.g. hand washing after toilet
  • Home-base fluid intake
  • Maintain diet

Written by Jennifer Eshun

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