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Diarrhoea is defined as copious watery motions or three or more motions within 24 hours.

Causes of Diarrhoea

Viruses and toxins of micro-organisms cause diarrhoea in the majority of cases. In a small proportion of cases, parasites and other digestive disturbances are responsible for diarrhoea.

Signs and Symptoms of Diarrhoea

  • Frequency of motion is more than usual.
  • Consistency of the stool changes from formed to fluid.
  • There may be associated pain in the abdomen.
  • Stools may be mixed with blood or mucus.
  • There may be vomiting.

Why is Diarrhoea dangerous?

The main danger from diarrhoea results from the loss of body water and salts in the watery stools, which can lead to shock and a number of electrolyte abnormalities and eventually death.

Management of Diarrhoea

Principle: Replace the water and electrolytes lost in the stools.

Oral Rehydration Powder packets (WHO Formulation) are available in the market with various brand names and may be used as per the instructions mentioned on the packets. Small frequent feeds of reconstituted oral rehydration solution are advisable. If Commercial Oral Rehydration solutions are not available, then salt-sugar solution can be prepared at home and used instead. Mix 8 teaspoonful of sugar (40 gms) and ¾ teaspoonful of common salt (3.5 gms) in a litre of boiled water and after cooling use as Oral Rehydration solution. If this is not available then coconut water, buttermilk or even plain water may be used until the physician's help is sought.


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