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99 Capacities Series – Capacity #26: Quell Diarrhea

The twenty-sixth capacity that I introduce in my eBook is that you must quell diarrhea. In it I state that:

You must “quell diarrhea. This could be a huge concern post-disaster with the increased possibility of consuming contaminated water and/or food. In some cases, diarrhea could prove life-threatening. Have appropriate OTC medications on-hand and know how to properly replenish body fluids and electrolytes too.”

Let me preface this post with: I AM NOT A DOCTOR! This should not be considered medical advice at all. Consult your doctor or health care provide for specific treatments for diarrhea whenever possible. It’s just the SMART thing to do!!!!

While next week’s capacity will be about constipation, this one will be about diarrhea. In general, acute diarrhea is normal and is just another one of your body’s mechanisms for dealing with stuff that shouldn’t be in your body. That said, it is still a major cause of death among third world countries, so it’s nothing to mess with. According to HowStuffWorks.com:

“Acute diarrhea usually has a bacterial or viral culprit. Gastroenteritis, mistakenly called the “stomach flu,” is one of the most common infections that cause diarrhea. Gastroenteritis can be caused by many different viruses. Eating or drinking foods contaminated with bacteria can also cause diarrhea. Other causes of acute diarrhea are lactose intolerance, sweeteners such as sorbitol, over-the-counter antacids that contain magnesium, too much vitamin C, and some antibiotics.”

Usually the biggest concern with respect to acute diarrhea is getting enough fluid intake. That’s why it is critically important that anyone who is suffering from acute diarrhea drink enough fluids to replenish what they’ve lost from the diarrhea. In addition to fluid loss the body also loses electrolytes; that’s why you should understand How to Make and Use Oral Rehydration Salts. Of course, you could also use something like Gatorade or Pedialyte to replenish electrolytes as well.

Although generally not recommended unless necessary, you may find the need to use an antidiarrheal OTC medication such as Imodium (active ingredient is loperamide) or Pepto-Bismol (active ingredient is Bismuth subsalicylate) to help with difficult bouts of diarrhea. You shoul know, however, that while both of these medications may help, there are some issues with taking them both long term and especially for children. In particular, FamilyDoctor.org includes the following warnings:

“Don’t give loperamide to children 6 years of age or younger unless your doctor says it’s okay. You shouldn’t take loperamide if you have a fever, or if you’ve ever had a rash or an allergic reaction after taking it. Don’t take loperamide if you have bloody or black stools. These may be signs of a more serious problem, including a bacterial infection, so talk to your family doctor.

People who are allergic to aspirin or other salicylate medicines should not take bismuth subsalicylate. Don’t give bismuth subsalicylate to children 12 years of age or younger. Don’t give bismuth subsalicylate to children or teenagers 12 to 18 years of age who may have the flu or chickenpox. This increases their risk for Reye’s syndrome, which is a serious illness that can lead to death.”

Other potentially helpful aids from HowStuffWorks.com for reducing the effects of diarrhea include:

  • eating yogurt
  • avoiding dairy products except yogurt (the same may be said for greasy foods and sweets too)
  • drinking chamomile tea
  • eating starchy foods
  • eating blueberries
  • making organe peel tea
  • digest fenugreek seeds

You might also browse these 100 Remedies for Diarrhea as there are plenty of home remedies to choose from. Whatever you choose to do, have a good plan in place to deal with mild and severe diarrhea. This is particularly true for young children as they are most susceptible to such problems. Remember, diarrhea IS a leading cause of death in third world countries and that we may very well be living in similar conditions if the grid is down, medicines are unavailable, and doctors and hospitals are overwhelmed or not functioning.

Note: This post is part of an ongoing series detailing the ideas from my free eBook, The 99 Capacities You MUST Acquire BEFORE Disaster Strikes You!, which you may freely download here.

3 comments to 99 Capacities Series – Capacity #26: Quell Diarrhea

  • T.R.

    We had a job in Malasia years ago . One of the guys got dysentery over there and it really messed him up , he came back skinny as a POW , it took that poor man 4 years to get all his weight back on . Your right , it can be serious stuff .

  • This shows the importance of having a very good water filtration system and also for having the correct meds in out kits. We tend to focus on bandages and gauze and antibiotics but forget the other OTC meds we use all the time. Ibuprofen is another one we should stock up on.

  • Smoothe1

    I can only imagine how bad life-threatening diarrhea can be. I’m glad you brought up this topic. It may be difficult to want to talk about but could be critical to know how to deal with when you really need to.