Ways & How

how to prevent diarrhea

how to prevent diarrhea

Nowadays, transportation and technology has improved to such an extent that the movement of people, foodstuffs, and animals have become more common and mostly taken for granted. At any one time, we could be eating food at any place without knowing (or even caring) where the various ingredients for our meal came from, nor do we have any control or awareness of the manner by which it was prepared. And anywhere in the environment, at home or outside, bacteria, viruses, parasites and other undesirable elements get into our system through food, drink, or other means. Hence, it should come as no surprise that diarrhea could strike at any time without warning and seemingly out of nowhere. Therefore, it is important to know how to prevent diarrhea. Diarrhea, simply put, is passing loose, watery stool at a frequent rate of about three or more times a day. Here are some ways to protect yourself from getting diarrhea.

  1. Always, always wash your hands. Your hands get dirty the most and may be the worst germ carriers, so it is essential to always wash them.

    This should be done before and after eating or handling food, after using restrooms, after a bowel movement, and after cleaning up children when they have bowel movements. You could also use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, which has the added convenience of being easy to carry around and therefore handier to use.

  2. Throw away dirty food. This holds true for food that falls on the floor or the ground. Sometimes, it’s tempting to snatch food off the ground as soon as it lands because it seems there wasn’t enough time for germs to have attached to it, and we get away with it often enough to make us be complacent. But actually, germs, bacteria and parasite abound more at ground level, and just one serious bout of diarrhea would probably cure you of that false notion once and for all. But don’t wait for that to have to happen before learning your lesson. The same goes true for food that smells bad, has mold growing on it, has been sitting around the counter beyond its safe exposure period, is expired, spoiled, etc. Don’t spare a few dollars’ worth of food in exchange for a risk to your health.

  3. Prepare food right, meaning the obvious: wash vegetables and fruit before cooking or eating, cook food thoroughly, especially meat, keep your hands clean while handling food, use clean utensils while cooking, don’t leave food sitting on the counter without a cover and for a long period of time, etc. If you don’t know how the food was prepared (e.g. street food, salad bars, food samples, etc.), be very wary, or better yet, steer clear of it.

  4. Avoid food that causes loose bowel in your system. For this, you have to be conscious of the particular food that triggers diarrhea in your own body: milk, if you are lactose-intolerant; caffeine in coffee, tea or soda for some; sorbitol found in supplements and food for those on a diet; certain foods and leafy vegetables for others.

  5. Don’t drink tap water, especially when travelling. If you are used to drinking tap water at home, like in the shower or while brushing your teeth, chances are you might already have developed immunity to the content and quality of your tap water. But when travelling or when in a strange place, the composition of the tap water may be different from what your body is used to. So be careful what you drink especially when away from home.

  6. Observe what other things may trigger diarrhea in you and minimize, or avoid, them. For some people, it is stress; for others, it may be hormonal changes, etc. If your diarrhea may be brought on due to side effects from medication you’re taking, talk about it with your physician as there might be alternatives available that will not provoke your stomach.

The above, practiced conscientiously, will likely help you on how to prevent diarrhea. Although there is no surefire way to avoid it, you certainly can and should take precautions to minimize your risks.


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