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Beware of Summer Diarrhoea

During summer a lot of cases of diarrhoea are reported to every doctor, clinic and hospital. With temperature going up, the number of cases of diarrhoea also seem to be keeping pace. Though it seems a common and a harmless trouble, it is one of the biggest killers, more so in the case of children and infants. More than 15 lakh children die due to this seemingly innoccuous malady. It is, in fact the second biggest killer of children.


Considering its potential danger, every parent should know about the causes, prevention, treatment and management of diarrhoea and the various danger signs associated with it. First of all, let us understand that it is not the temperature per se that is responsible. It has to do with infections. Hot weather provides a very conducive environment for the bacteria and the viruses to grow quickly. They are present in large numbers almost everywhere and pose a strong threat to everyone. The slightest carelessness while taking water or food from a source about which you are not very sure can catch you unawares quickly. Therefore, it makes sense to carry your own water bottle in summers. This small precaution can be a big help in preventing an infection from reaching your digestive system.


A common practice in our country is to keep edibles uncovered. This is commonly seen in almost every market of our cities. Flies, mosquitoes and other insects can infect an edible substance in a very short time, making it unfit for human consumption as the bacteria and viruses start multiplying quickly at a furious rate. These micro-organisms are not visible to the naked eye, but they are there all the same. So, do not think that if you have not seen houseflies making a meal of your salad, it is safe and uninfected. It may still be carrying enough germs to cause a violent infection. It is better to consume fruits and vegetables immediately after cutting.


One more common source of catching infection happens to be the swimming pools. While taking a bath before and after a swim is advocated everywhere, it is not religiously adhered to. There is also the possibility that the water may not be clean enough or may not have been changed for quite a few days. Try not to swallow water from the pool. It is always better to take all the precautions if you are fond of swimming. Having a bath with soap after swimming is always recommended and can be of immense help in preventing infections.

Dehydration and its signs
The biggest threat that diarrhoea causes is from the loss of vital fluids and electrolytes. It can cause serious dehydration. The signs of dehydration are increased thirst, dryness of the mouth, a decreased output of urine, the dark yellow colour of the urine, sunken eyes and dry, shrivelled skin. It needs to be managed proactively. Ideally, the management should start before dehydration has set in.

Managing dehydration
Take a lot of fluids. Simple water may not be enough as electrolytes are also lost. The easiest option is to take ORS. It is easily available everywhere and has the right mix of all the necessary electrolytes. In case ORS is not available, add some sugar and a pinch of salt to a glass of water. Avoid giving tea and coffee as they act as diuretics and lead to loss of water.

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