One of the biggest worries with diarrheal disease is the severe dehydration. Diarrhea is formally diagnosed as having 3 liquid stools per day, and such frequent bowel movements can lead to the rapid loss of fluids and nutrients from the body. Thus, many treatments focus on rehydration and replenishment of essential salts and electrolytes, which can be successfully managed right at home. The following are several ways to prevent dehydration during diarrhea.

FIRST PRIORITY:

Drink fluids that contain salt:

  • Oral Rehydration Solutions
  • Salted Drinks (example: Salted Rice Water)
  • Vegetable or Chicken Soup with Salt

SECOND PRIORITY:

Suitable fluids that do not contain salt but will help hydrate:

  • Plain Clean Water
  • Unsalted Soup
  • Green Coconut Water
  • Weak Tea (Unsweetened)
  • Unsweetened Fresh Fruit Juice

DO NOT DRINK DURING DIARRHEA:

  • Carbonated Beverages
  • Commercial Fruit Juices
  • Coffee

In addition to liquids, usual diet and normal feedings should be continued throughout diarrheal episode. Continued feeding helps stimulate recovery of normal intestinal function and provides body with necessary nutrients. Frequent, small feedings may be better tolerated than large, infrequent ones. Food should be well cooked (if applicable) and may be mashed or ground to help with digestion. Meat, fish, or eggs are recommended, as well as foods that are high in potassium such as bananas and fresh fruit juices.

While prevention of dehydration is manageable at home, one should seek treatment from a health care worker if any of the following are observed:

  • Starts to pass many watery stools per day
  • Has repeated vomiting
  • Increased thirst
  • Poor eating or drinking tolerance
  • Fever develops
  • Blood in the stool
  • Continued symptoms after 3 to 5 days

These symptoms may be indicative of worsening dehydration and malnutrition, or underlying gastrointestinal and systemic concerns.

Sources

http://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/handle/10665/43209/9241593180.pdf;jsessionid=EB9C1530FEA9B3F9537FABAE3F5BBB07?sequence=1

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oral_rehydration_therapy#/media/File:UNICEF-ORS.jpg – ORS PIC

Coconut and Coffee and Soda pictures from Google Images