Signs and Symptoms
1. Loose, watery stools.
2. Frequent bowel movements.
3. Abdominal pain or cramping.
What to do now
1. Avoid eating solid food at first, to let the digestive tract rest.
2. Sip clear, warm liquids (water, tea, or broth), sports drinks, of flat sodas (ginger ale, cola, or other sodas that have been left open to lose their fizz). Drink only small amounts for the first few hours, then as much as your stomach ca n handle.
3. If your stomach tolerates the fluids try eating bulk-adding foods such as bananas, white rice, or toast.
4. Don’t take over-the-counter anti diarrhea products for the first few hours; allow your system to expect whatever irritant or infectious agent may be causing the problem. If you do use such products don’t continue taking them for more than a day or two without consulting your doctor.
5. While you are recovering, avoid alcohol, milk products, and fiber-rich foods such as salads and fruit.
6. If your diarrhea is severe, be sure to avoid dehydration. The signs include dry mouth, sticky saliva, and dark yellow urine in smaller amounts than usual. Commercial rehydration drinks such as pedialyte (for infants) and sports drinks can help replace lost fluids and minerals.
When to call a doctor
1. If the diarrhea is a accompanied by severe cramping, light-headedness, chills, vomiting, or fever over 101 degrees.
2. If you notice signs of severe dehydration-dry mouth, sticky saliva, dizziness or weakness, and dark yellow urine. Call for an immediate appointment:
3. If stools are bloody or tarry, or contain mucus or worms.
4. If you have diarrhea frequently, or if it occurs while you are taking a medication.
5. If diarrhea lasts for more than 48 hours (one day for a child under three, eight hours for an infant under six months).
6. If you have been traveling and may have been drinking untreated water.
7. If diarrhea alternates with constipation and persists for more than a few weeks. You may have irritable bowel syndrome or- though less likely- colon cancer.
8. If you notice signs of dehydration, which can be dangerous for the elderly as well as for young children.
How to prevent it
1. Avoid foods that you know your body cannot tolerate well.
2. When traveling in foreign countries, drink only bottled or boiled or boiled water or canned beverages. Eat fruits and vegetables.