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Diarrhea

Definition

Diarrhea is defined as the bowel movement of loose or liquid feces, generally over three times in 24 hours. Frequent passing of solid stools is not diarrhea. Bowel movements of loose and “pasty” consistency on breastfed babies is also not considered diarrhea.

It is an infectious symptom of the digestive tract, which can be caused by various bacterial organisms, viruses, or parasites. It can be transmitted through contaminated food or water or through hygiene deficiency.

This disease is the second major cause of death in children under five years of age. It is completely preventable and treatable.

Prevention

There are certain actions that can help to prevent diarrhea:

  • Washing hands before and after cooking and eating, after using the restroom, changing diapers, taking out trash, touching animals, sneezing, or nose-blowing.
  • Paying attention to the quality and cleanliness of food.
  • Not drinking unpasteurized milk or food made from it.
  • Cooking eggs, meats, and seafood well.
  • Keeping kitchen surfaces and utensils clean.

Symptoms

The main symptom is an increase in the amount of stool passed and a decline in consistency. This is frequently associated with other symptoms:

  • Abdominal pain (cramps).
  • Nausea or vomit.
  • Fever.

If there is abundant diarrhea, it can also produce dehydration. It is of utmost importance to recognize this:

  • Extreme fatigue.
  • Thirst, dry tongue or mouth.
  • Muscle cramps.
  • Dizziness.
  • Very concentrated urine or a lack of urination for over 5 hours.

Causes

There are many causes for diarrhea. Most commonly, it is produced by bacteria that live in the food or water. Thus, it is acquired through food intoxication. Likewise, it can be the result of a virus or parasite. Viruses are the main cause of diarrhea in children.

Treatment

Treatment will depend on the cause of the diarrhea and its severity. On occasion, it can be treated only with liquids. If the diagnosis is serious and the diarrhea is accompanied by dehydration, it is necessary to treat the patient intravenously. Diarrhea not caused by an infection usually requires a more specific treatment according to the type of disease. It is not recommended to self-medicate. See your doctor and receive adequate treatment.

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