Diarrhea is a medical condition that is characterized by the passage of loose and watery stools. They can be harmless but it can prove to be fatal if not treated well. Children under the age of five years are affected by diarrhea quite often.
About 29.73 % of children in Pakistan who are under the age of five years suffer from diarrhea. Children all over Pakistan are affected by this disease but statistics show that children of interior Sindh suffer the most from diarrhea. The important thing to note here is that diarrhea in children is not only the case, everyone is at the risk of diarrhea and therefore its once or twice a year happening is considered normal.
The question lies that when to get serious about the disease. If someone gets diarrhea and it goes on its own within two to three days it might be a normal incident but if someone suffers from it quite often and it stays for a longer number of days, then one should consult a doctor and take medical help. The people who travel to developing countries usually suffer from diarrhea from consuming unhygienic food and water. The term used for this type of diarrhea is ‘traveler’s diarrhea’.
Diarrhea can be caused by viruses, bacteria, or parasites found in contaminated food or water. Diarrhea can also be caused as a complication of some other underlying medical condition as for example, a person is taking antibiotics for sore throat and due to the side effects of those antibiotics, he can experience diarrhea.
Some people are born with some food intolerances or sensitivities such as wheat allergy, if a person with this primary condition eats wheat then the outcome would be diarrhea because the stomach or small intestines will not be able to digest that particular food choice. On the other hand, there is a variety of gastrointestinal diseases that end up in diarrhea as for example inflammatory bowel disease or gastric ulcers.
The basic symptoms of diarrhea are abdominal cramps, nausea or vomiting, weakness, and loss of bowel control. Diarrhea associated with any virus or bacteria are accompanied by fever, chills and bloody stools. Diarrhea can be proven fatal if it gets complicated. The main complication that can happen is dehydration which in turn can cause serious problems to the patient like loss of consciousness and imbalances in electrolytes.
The treatment of diarrhea depends on the root cause that made it happen. Viral or bacterial diarrhea is treated with certain medications. If the diarrheal cause is secondary to some other disease, the primary cause is treated first. Lack of water content that occurred due to dehydration is fulfilled by taking oral rehydration solutions.
It can be prevented by eating hygienic and healthy food and drinking purified or boiled water. Fruits and vegetables should be first washed properly prior to eating. Washing hands should be made compulsory for everyone before taking a meal. Children should be vaccinated on time for these types of diseases.
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