When a person has loose or watery stools, he has diarrhea. If Mucus and blood can be found on the stool, then this is a likely sign of Dysentry. Severity of this sickness can range from mild to severe all depending on how well its being managed during its developmental stages. In children, this can be a very dangerous case if not properly managed and taken care of in time. Children who are in fact malnourished are usually prone to having this sickness at most.
Children who are well nourished has a less likely chance of getting diarrhea. If they ever get it, they surely will get well and overcome the sickness in time. But the opposite is likely to happen to malnourished children.Diarrhea has many causes. Though sometimes special treatment is so needed to keep the case managed. However, most cases of diarrhea can be treated successfully without actually visiting the hospital for help. Rehydrating the affected person is so important here because of the loss of excess fluid in the body which dehydrates the patient (Old or Young) In the case of children that wouldn’t eat well, feeding him though little but as many times a day will help him.
The causes of Diarrhea are…
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- Poor Nutrition: This weakens the body system and the body immunity less defensive against diarrhea causing agents.
- Shortage of water and unclean conditions: There is a spread of diseases and germs easily from person to person or from environment to person.
- Virus Infections or intestinal flu: This triggers bad environment for good digestion and therefore cause diarrhea that is in sometimes mild.
- Infection of the Gut caused by Bacteria or Giardia
- Infection outside the gut ( Ear infection, tonsillitis, measles, urinary infection) Are all in some cases he causes of Diarrhea
- Malaria can be traced to be an agent causing this.
- Food poisoning is also another common cause as the body tries to remove the poisons from the intestines.
- Inability to digest milk Mainly in severely malnourished people (Children or Adult)
- Difficulty babies have digesting foods that are quite new to their system
- Allergies to certain types of foods (Seafood, Crayfish) In some rare cases, babies might be allergic to cow milk and other types of milk other than human milk.
- Side effects produced by certain medicines such as ampicilin, tetracycline etc.
- Eating too much unripe fruits or heavy, greasy foods
- Laxatives, purges, irritating or poisonous plants
- AIDS (Long lasting diarrhea may be an earlier sign
Although diarrhea has as many different causes as possible, the most common of them all are infection and poor nutrition. With a good hygiene an good food, most cases of diarrhea can be prevented. If the sickness is treated correctly, very fewer cases of diarrhea in children might be life threatening. Children who are poorly nourished get diarrhea anyway and this can threaten their precious lives unlike those who are well nourished, they can always survive the cases of the sickness. In any case that malnutrition already exist, diarrhea usually make this worse.
Malnutrition causes Diarrhea.
Diarrhea causes Malnutrition.
To learn about the kinds of food that helps the body, resist or fight against different illnesses which also include diarrhea, you can actually read this. The prevention of diarrhea depends on good nutrition and cleanliness. Many suggestions for personal and public cleanliness are given here. The importance of water comes into play, the good use of the toilet as well as diet all matters alot in controlling many infections. Although, there are many ways to live a normal clean life but below are some good examples to follow which helps.
- Breast feeding babies instead of bottle feeding them: Giving only breast milk for at least the first 4 months of birth will actually help the baby’s immune system to fight off against germs of different kinds. If its not possible to breast feed a baby, at least feeding the baby with a spoon or cup will help rather than using bottles which are quite harder to keep clean and might cause infections.
- While starting to feed babies with solid foods: Feed the baby little of those solid food but make sure they are mashed and well mixed up with breast milk. The baby has to learn to digest new type of foods. So do not suddenly stop giving the baby breast milk because if the baby starts off with too much new foods at a time, the baby might get diarrhea.
- Keeping clean in every way possible is a very important factor to preventing diarrhea. In the terms of babies, keeping off dirty objects from their mouth will actually do much help than expected. So keep the entire environment clean at all times. Taking unnecessary medicines which aren’t prescribed by a qualified medical practionner is a foul play because it might react in the body and cause severe cases of infection. In babies, always take them to hospital for medications and not self recommending drugs which are bad things.
Treatments of Diarrhea:
For most cases of diarrhea, no medication is usually needed. If the diarrhea becomes so severe, the biggest danger would be dehydration which affects the brain and can cause a permanent brain damage. If the diarrhea lasts a long time, the biggest danger would be malnutrition. So the most important part of treatment has to do with giving enough liquid and enough food to the person who is suffering from this infection. No matter what the cause of the diarrhea might be, always make sure you take good care of such person with the following aide…
- Prevent or Control dehydration: A person with diarrhea must drink a lot of liquid. If diarrhea is severe or there are signs if dehydration, giving such person Rehydration Drink will help him get quite better. And always insist on the person taking the drink as often as possible.
- Meet Nutritional Needs: A person suffering diarrhea needs enough food as soon as possible to balance off life threatening stages. This is especially important in small children or persons who are already malnourished. Also, when a person has diarrhea, food passes through the gut so quickly that they are not used by the body. So this might result in vomiting so the person should eat well as often possible. In case the person takes little food, then feed as many times as possible.
- A baby with diarrhea should go on breast feeding.
- An underweight child should get plenty of energy foods and some body building foods (proteins) all the time he has diarrhea and extra when he gets well. If the person stops eating because of loss of appetite or vomiting, such person should eat again as soon as possible. Giving Rehydration Drink will help the child to be able to eat well again. Although giving food may cause frequent stools at first but this saves lives anyway.
- If a child who is underweight has diarrhea that lasts for as many days or keeps coming back, then give him foods more often for at least 5 times a day. In most cases, no alternative treatments are needed.
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- When the person is vomiting or feels too sick to eat well, he should: Take watery mush or both ruce, maze powder or potato (Rice water in cases helps)
- The person should also take body building foods such as Chicken, meat, bean
- Sweetened drinks comes handy here as it helps rehydrates lost fluids back to the body.
- Breast milk for babies with diarrhea.
- Energy foods such as ripe or cooked bananas, crackers, rice, oatmeal or other well cooked grains such as fresh maize are all helpful.
- Potatoes, papaya all helps the body restore energy. It might be helpful to add a little sugar or vegetable oil to cereal foods.
- Body building foods such as chicken (Boiled or roasted) eggs (Boiled). Meat (Well cooked without much fat or grease) Beans, lentils or peas (Well cooked), milk (sometimes this can cause problems though.)
Never take foods that are fatty, greasy, raw fruits (Not all though) any kind of laxative or purge, highly seasoned foods or alcoholic drinks. They are bad for your health.
Diarrhea and Milk
Breast milk is the best food for babies and we all know that. So this is a great advise to keep giving breast milk to babies when they have diarrhea. It does not cause diarrhea on its own but helps the baby gets well as soon as possible. Cow milk, Dry skim milk and canned milk can be good sources of protein for children who suffer from diarrhea. However, ig the child is badly malnourished, he may have trouble digesting milk and this might cause even worse cases of diarrhea. If this happens anyway, try giving him less milk but mixing it with other foods will be better. But remember that a poorly nourished child with diarrhea must have enough energy food and protein. If less milk is given, well cooked and mashed foods such as chicken, egg yolk, meat, fish, beans should be considered. Beans are easier to digest if their skins are peeled off and well boiled and then mashed. They should not be cooked in oil. Soymilk made from soya beans are great alternatives too. So as the child gets better, he will be able to take more milk than before.
Medicine for Diarrhea
For most cases of diarrhea, no medicines are usually needed. But in some extreme cases using the right medicine can be important. However, many of the medicines commonly used for diarrhea do little to no good. In fact, some are actually harmful. Generally,it is better not to use the following medicines in the treatment of diarrhea. “Anti Diarrhea” medicines with Kaolin and pectin (such as kaopectate) maks diarrhea thicker and less frequent, but they do not correct dehydration or control infections. Some anti-diarrhea medicines, like diphenoxylate (Lomotil) might make infections to last longer than normal.
Anti Diarrhea medicines act like Plugs. They keep in the Infected material that needs to come out.
Anti diarrhea mixtures containing neomycin or streptomycin should not be used as these might irritate the gut and do more harm than good to the body. Antibiotics like ampicillin and tetracycline are useful in some cases of diarrhea but they themselves sometimes cause diarrhea especially in little children. If after taking these antibiotics for more than 2 or 3 days and diarrhea gets worse instead of better, then stop taking them because antibiotics might be the cause.
Chloramphenicol have certain dangers in its use and should therefore be used for mild diarrhea or given to babies that are under the age of just 1 month old.
Laxatives and Purges should never be given to person with diarrhea. They will make it worse and increase the danger of dehydration.
Special treatments in different cases of diarrhea
While most cases of diarrhea can be treated by giving plenty of liquid and food with no medicine, sometimes special treatments might be needed. In considering treatment, keep in mind that some cases of diarrhea especially in small kids are caused by infections outside the gut. Always check for infections infections of the ear, the throat and urinary system. If any is found, these infection should be treated. Also look for signs of measles.
In case the child has mild diarrhea together with signs of cold, the diarrhea is probably caused by a virus or intestinal flu and no special treatment is called for. Give lots of liquids. In certain difficult situations of diarrhea, analysis of the stools or other tests may be needed to know how to treat diarrhea correctly. But usually, you can learn enough from asking specific questions, seeing stools and looking for certain signs. Here are some guidelines for treatments to signs.
- Sudden, mild diarrhea No fever (Likely Upset stomach? Intestinal Flu?) Drink a lot of liquids. Usually, no special treatment is needed. For a plug, a mixture of kaolin and pectin such as Kaopectate can be used but is never necessary and doesn’t help either t correct dehydration or get rid of infection. So instead wasting money and time buying it. And it should not be given to someone who is very ill or small children. And if there are colic (painful cramps) is a problem, an antispasmodic like belladonna may help.
- Diarrhea with Vomiting: If a person with diarrhea is also vomiting the danger of dehydration increases especially in small children. It is very important to give Rehydration Drink, tea, or whatever liquid that the person can take. Keep on giving it every 5 to 10 minute. If vomiting doesn’t stop sooner, you can then use medicines like promethazine or phenobarbital.` And in case the diarrhea can not be controlled o rif dehydration gets worse, seek medical help as soon as possible.
- Diarrhea with muucs and specks of blood: Often chronic. No fever. Usually, no dehydration. There may be diarrhea some days and constipation other days (Sometimes amebic dysentry) Use metronidazole or diloxanide furoate. Take medicine according to the recommended dosage. If the diarrhea continues after treatment, seek medical help sooner.
- Acute diarrhea with fever, with or without blood (bacteria dysentry, typhoid, malaria) If the person with diarrhea has a fever lasting more than 6 hours after being treated for dhydration and seem very ill, give ampicillin if possible or tetracycline. If the person ‘s condition is very poor or he is not improving with ampicillin or tetracycline, seek medical help fast. If there are signs of typhoid fever, then give chloramphenicol in the recommended dose. In case the falciparum type of malaria is common, it is good idea that the person with diarrhea and fever also be treated an anti-malaria drug especially if they have large spleen.
- Persistent bad-smelling diarrhea, sometimes yellow an frothy, without blood or mucus : This may be caused by microscopic parasites called giardia or perhaps by malnutrition. In either case, plenty of fluid and nutritious foods and rests are often the best means of treatment. Severe cases of giardia infections can be treated with metronidazole.
- Chronic diarrhea (Diarrhea that lasts longer time and keeps coming back) This may be caused by malnutrition or less commonly by chronic infections such as the cases of amebas. Making sure the person eats more nutritious foods and take more liquid is a very helpful thing. If diarrhea still come back, seek medical help as in case of adult, it might be AIDS.
- Diarrhea like Rice Water (Cholera?): Rice water stools are a sign of cholera. In countries where this dangerous disease occur, cholera often comes in epidemics which strikes many people at once. And is usually worse in older children than in adults. Dehydration is very extreme especially if there is vomiting. Treating dehydration continuously and giving tetracycline is a big help. Co-trimoxazole or chloramphenicol is also another big help. The cases of cholera should be reported to health authorities and seeking medical help is very important.
Care for babies with diarrhea:
Diarrhea is very dangerous in babies and small children. Often, medicine is needed in their case but some special care can help babies while getting treatment to help fasten up recovery.
- Continuous breast feeding: and also give sips of Rehydration Drink made with water, sugar and salt only.
- If vomiting is a problem, then give breast milk often but little at a time; Also give rehydration Drink in small sips every 5 to 10 minutes.
- If there is no breast milk, try giving frequent small feeding of some other milk or milk substitute such as milk made from soybeans mixed to half normal strength with boiled water. If milk seems to make the diarrhea worse, give some other protein (mashed chicken, egg, lean meat, sugar, or well cooked rice or another carbohydrate and boiled water)
- If the child is younger that 1 month old, try to find a health worker before giving any medicine. If there is no health worker and the child is very sick, give some infant syrup that contains ampicillin half a teaspoon 4 times daily but antibiotics still aren’t good options. Seek medical help as soon as you can get one.
Cases to seek medical help in the case of diarrhea
- If diarrhea lasts more than 4 days and is not getting any better or 1 day in small children with severe condition
- If the person gets dehydrated and this gets worse
- If the child vomits everything he drinks or drinks nothing or if frequent vomiting continues for more than 3 hours after being treated for rehydration
- If the child begins to have fits or if the feet and face swells
- If there is much blood in stools while there is less diarrhea
- If the child gets weak, very sick and have rapid breath
All these cases are severe and must be referred to a qualified health worker in your area for instant treatment. Diarrhea is very dangerous in both young and old people and taking instant action against it will help stop or lessen the threat to life.
NOTE: All medicines in this post shouldn’t be seen as a substitute to a qualified medical treatment. In case you have doubts or the case is more severe, always seek medical help. Contact your health worker and get a medical treatment immediately.