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Diarrhea [Adult, Viral]

Diarrhea is usually due to viral gastroenteritis, another name for the "stomach flu." This virus affects the stomach and intestinal tract and usually lasts 2 to 7 days. The main danger from repeated diarrhea is dehydration -- the loss of excess water and minerals from the body. Antibiotics are not effective in this illness, but simple home treatment will be helpful.

Home Care:

  • If symptoms are severe, rest at home for the next 24 hours or until you are feeling better.

  • You may use acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil) to control fever unless another medicine was prescribed. [ NOTE : If you have chronic liver or kidney disease or ever had a stomach ulcer or GI bleeding, talk with your doctor before using these medicines.] (Aspirin should never be used in anyone under 18 years of age who is ill with a fever. It may cause severe liver damage.)

  • Avoid tobacco, caffeine and alcohol, which may worsen your symptoms.

  • If anti-diarrhea medicine was prescribed, take this only as directed. Sometimes anti-diarrhea medicine can make your condition worse if the cause is an infectious diarrhea. Therefore, anti-diarrhea medicine should not be taken for this condition unless advised by your doctor.

During The First 12-24 Hours follow the diet below:

  • BEVERAGES: Sport drinks like Gatorade, soft drinks without caffeine; ginger ale, mineral water (plain or flavored), decaffeinated tea and coffee.

  • SOUPS: Clear broth, consommé and bouillon

  • DESSERTS: Plain gelatin (Jell-O), popsicles and fruit juice bars.

During The Next 24 Hours you may add the following to the above:

  • Hot cereal, plain toast, bread, rolls, crackers

  • Plain noodles, rice, mashed potatoes, chicken noodle or rice soup

  • Unsweetened canned fruit (avoid pineapple), bananas

  • Limit fat intake to less than 15 grams per day by avoiding margarine, butter, oils, mayonnaise, sauces, gravies, fried foods, peanut butter, meat, poultry and fish.

  • Limit fiber; avoid raw or cooked vegetables, fresh fruits (except bananas) and bran cereals.

  • Limit caffeine and chocolate. No spices or seasonings except salt.

During The Next 24 Hours

Gradually resume a normal diet, as you feel better and your symptoms lessen.

Follow Up

with your doctor as advised. Call if not improving within 24 hours or if diarrhea lasts more than one week. If a stool (diarrhea) sample was taken, you may call in 2 days (or as directed) for the results.

Get Prompt Medical Attention

if any of the following occur:

  • Increasing abdominal pain or constant lower right abdominal pain

  • Continued vomiting (unable to keep liquids down)

  • Frequent diarrhea (more than 5 times a day)

  • Blood in vomit or stool (black or red color)

  • Reduced oral intake

  • Dark urine, reduced urine output

  • Weakness, dizziness, fainting

  • Drowsiness, confusion, stiff neck or seizure

  • Fever of 100.4°F (38°C) oral or higher, not better with fever medication

  • New rash

 

 
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