It is common and usually harmless… but, it could be deadly!!
What to do?
Number one. Take a lot of fluid. Dehydration (losing body water) is one of the main problems, that causes death, when one is “purging”. Take weak tea (with little sugar). Go to a pharmacy and get ORS, prepare it and start taking immediately. Be careful with salt-sugar preparation (if you don’t know how to prepare it!), it may worsen the situation if not done properly! Keep on drinking, even if you are vomiting — most of it will be absorbed; only less of it is vomited. DRINK. Drink. Sip, don’t gulp or guzzle! Take regular, frequent sips; its better than rushing the fluid, all at once!
Number two. Wash your hands. Wash frequently; especially after visiting the toilet, and before cooking or eating. Wash thoroughly; use soap. A lot of history and research show the importance of the simple act of regular, proper hand-washing. I just don’t feel like “gisting” today; i would have given you the detailed history and story! But, frequent, proper hand washing is quite powerful! Really.
Number three. Continue eating. It’s not advisable to just remain on fluids alone. People think eating worsens the “purging”; but it’s not exactly true — it actually makes the diarrhea go away faster! At least, it has been proven! Eat lightly, though; spaghetti, bread, rice, potatoes, etc. will do. If it’s your baby that has diarrhea, and you are breastfeeding, keep breastfeeding; in fact, even more. Breast is best (for babies!)
Number four. Avoid some foods. Avoid spicy and peppery foods. Avoid coffee, alcohol, fatty foods, and excess milk. Avoid heavy, bulky meals. These may be difficult to digest at this time. For God’s sake, give your intestines a break! Take fruit juice; don’t buy one; make one. And remember alcohol is not a fruit juice! avoid it completely, at least for now.
Number five. Have some rest. Your body will be grateful if it benefits from plenty of rest and sleep at this crucial moment. Avoid strenuous exercise or chores. Take a break. Remain home. Get a movie… and keep sipping your fluid. If you must go to work, work lightly.
Number six. Get some drugs. Some people are used to rushing to a chemist to get Buscopan, Loperamide, Flagyl, etc. Hmmm… got nothing much to say about that, for now! It’s okay. But at least talk, even briefly, with the Pharmacist, for one of the over-the-counter drugs, at least to relieve the stomach pain.
Number seven. See a doctor:
- if it’s a child (especially below the age of five); if you are pregnant, or if you are very elderly (say, 65years and above)
- if you become dehydrated, too weak, drowsy, dizzy, etc.
- if you have fever (that is, your body is very hot)
- if there’s blood in your stool
- if you are vomiting, continuously, and you seem to vomit “everything” you take in!
- if there’s severe, “stomach pain”
- if you have HIV/AIDS, diabetes, heart disease, or any serious disease.
- if several people in your neighborhood or community are also passing watery stool.
- if the “purging” lasts more than 3days.