Diarrhea: Dealing Day-to-Day

Diarrhea can be a symptom of many illnesses and medical conditions, or a side effect of certain medications. Diarrhea may also be the result of dietary choices. By avoiding or treating these potential causes, you can reduce your chances of developing diarrhea.

Even if you do develop diarrhea, continuing strategies to avoid or treat the cause of the diarrhea can go a long way in taking care of the condition and, therefore, the diarrhea. These strategies can help to reduce the severity, duration and frequency of the diarrhea.

Steps you may be able to take to reduce your risk of diarrhea include:

1. Avoid viral infection.

Viruses are the most common cause of infectious diarrhea. A virus may damage the lining of the small intestine, interfering with normal fluid and nutrient absorption, causing diarrhea.

Rotavirus is the most common cause of severe diarrhea in children: An estimated 55,000 children are hospitalized for it each year in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Viral infections can spread easily.

Noroviruses cause gastroenteritis, which includes diarrhea as a primary symptom. Good hygiene can help keep you save from viral infections, although this is not foolproof.

If a virus causes severe diarrhea, antidiarrheal medication may be necessary. In such cases, it is important to drink plenty of fluids in order to prevent dehydration. However, diarrhea caused by viral infections is usually mild and short-term.

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