Diarrhea, globally, is the third leading cause of child mortality under the age of 5 years in our country. Diarrhea isn't often deadly, yet it is one of the leading causes of the deaths of small children. Immunity in children is not as high as it is in adults. As a result of which, children are more vulnerable and susceptible to this illness.Even pregnant women are at risk of suffering from Diarrhea, and so are the elderly.
Apart from this, we all know how everyone gets Diarrhea. It isn't an illness specific to an age group; of course, it puts particular categories of people under severe threat, as mentioned above, yet it is not fatal to most.There is no good thing about Diarrhea other than that it is avoidable and preventable. What better way to face an illness than to prevent it? Before getting to the heart of the matter, let's look at the causes of Diarrhea. Because once we know the reasons, it becomes easier for us to figure out ways to prevent them. Therefore, cause and prevention go well together.
Few causes of Diarrhea
- A few bacteria, viruses, or pathogens may be the reason;
- Lactose intolerance is one of the major leading causes;
- Side effects of a few medications;
- Digestive disorders such as intestinal disease need attention;
- Food intolerance.
Different Age Groups are affected by Diarrhea.
As we already know, how Diarrhea affects different age groups. Let's look into it one step at a time.
Diarrhea in Children
According to a report by the World Health Organization, Diarrhea is the second biggest cause of death in children under the age of 5. Globally, there are almost 1.7 billion cases of diarrheal infection among children. It is a leading cause of malnutrition and stunted growth in children. Diarrhea kills close to 5,25,000 children every year.The fact that Diarrhea can be avoided/ prevented, and yet it’s not , makes it even more painful. Why is it that an illness which can be avoided/prevented is yet killing so many children globally? Diarrhea can last long, depriving children of the necessary nutrients for their growth and development.
A body without fluids and salts does not survive for long, which is what happens in children. Severe dehydration and loss of salts from the body make them sick, and ultimately they cannot survive. Children who are already malnourished or suffering from an illness eventually become targets. In low-income countries, children under the age of 3 experience more than three episodes of Diarrhea annually. These children are already suffering from malnutrition, and to top it all, they get Diarrhea, which becomes even more critical for them to survive.
Symptoms in Children
Dehydration is the primary symptom in most diarrhea cases. In children, you have to be a little extra cautious because they cannot always be vocal about their illness; you have to figure it out yourself. However, you can always look for some of the signs mentioned below to figure out.
- Dizziness. A child feels dizzy and confused;
- Crying without tears. It is a significant symptom of dehydration because of Diarrhea;
- Yellow or dark yellow urine or no urine at all;
- Dryness in mouth;
- A persistent fever. You have to be quick if the child is below six months of age and has a high fever for more than a day;
- Cold body;
- There is a lack of energy which is quite visible to you
You can look for these signs, and if your child has any of these symptoms, you must take them to the doctor immediately.
Let's now move on to look at Diarrhea in adults.
Diarrhea in Adults
Diarrhea in adults is the most common illness. Almost everyone you know must've gone through this painful experience at some point or the other in their lifetime. Diarrhea isn't that illness that only happens to you once. If you aren't careful or if you aren't in any luck, you will end up suffering from Diarrhea multiple times. It makes you feel so out of energy that you almost feel like you've taken that trip to hell. Dehydration is an immediate effect of Diarrhea, which is why you end up feeling like shit. Also, a few adults are at risk that their Diarrhea might turn severe. These include-
- Older adults.
- People with comorbidities. For instance, people with diabetes and HIV are at a higher risk of catching the disease.
The symptoms mentioned below are the most common among adults, and you should look for these if you've gone to the restroom more than four times a day.
Symptoms in Adults
In adults, the signs are pretty much the same. Look for these signs, and you'll know for yourself-
- Black, tarry stools.
- Loose stools.
- Frequent trips to the bathroom.
- Loss of appetite.
- Little or no energy.
- Abdominal pain with stomach cramps.
- A high-grade fever persists for more than two days.
- Muscle aches and pains.
Diarrhea during Pregnancy
Did you know that Diarrhea is most common in pregnant women? The reason for this might be
- The hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy.
- A diarrheal infection caused by bacteria, viruses, or some pathogen.
- Stress or some level of anxiety.
- Food intolerance.
- Food allergy.
- Side effects of certain medications.
- Eating foods containing alcohol or consuming a caffeinated drink.
- Consuming too sugary beverages.
Whatever the reason might be, Diarrhea indeed feels dreadful. Therefore, it is vital to look for symptoms of Diarrhea during Pregnancy, as it can be dangerous to both the mother and the child.
Symptoms in Pregnant Women
Look for the below-mentioned symptoms and know when to visit the doctor.
- If you have stools that contain blood or pus.
- Diarrhea lasting more than two days.
- Going to the restroom more than six times a day.
- A persistent high-grade fever.
- Frequent vomiting.
- An ugly stomach aches with cramps.
- Dehydration. Again it is the best sign to look for. A dehydrated body urinates less frequently with dark urine and light-headedness.
Irrespective of your age group, there is a list of things to follow to prevent Diarrhea. Infectious Diarrhea is preventable and well under your control, which makes it different from Diarrhea induced by some underlying medical condition. Many things in life aren't under our control; on the other hand, a few things can be avoided, such as infectious Diarrhea. Hence, always be wary of a few things. Maintain hygienic conditions no matter where you are.
Wash your hands frequently.
Keep in mind that there are times you have to wash your hands necessarily. For instance-
- Before and after going to the loo;
- Before and after eating;
- Before and after taking care of someone unwell;
- After you sneeze or cough;
- After you touch a pet or feed them;
- After touching or throwing away garbage;
- After changing the diapers of a child or cleaning them up
Note: Washing hands must be done diligently. Also, sanitizing your hands is a must.
Your child's vaccinations must be up to date, and you must attend all of them. For instance, vaccination against rotavirus should be done since it is the most common cause of Diarrhea in children under the age of 5. Rotavirus was a major cause of concern before its vaccine was made.
As parents, you should know that if a vaccination has been made, it has to be administered to the child at the specified time.
Avoid Traveler's Diarrhea
While traveling, remember that a few things are to be followed to the T.
- Do not consume foods and drinks that may be contaminated.
- Wash your hands while traveling.
- Look for hygienic lodging places.
- Use only bottled water and do not consult ice.
- Keep your mouth closed while showering.
- Keep in touch with your doctor.
Apart from these, a few Home remedies will always come in handy such as-
- Clean vegetables and fruits. Before cooking or eating any raw fruit, you must wash it thoroughly.
- Eat well-cooked and hot-served food. It is a safer way to ensure the food is not tainted. Heating at high temperatures kills the bacteria if there are any.
- Keep utensils and surfaces of your home clean and sanitized.
- Do not go out if you have Diarrhea, and maintain distance.
- Do not share personal items with anyone if you or someone in your household has Diarrhea.
Home remedies are the best way to protect yourself. These are the things you make sure to easily sit at home.