Manage Diarrhea in Summers
Diarrhea in summers is one of the most common problems. If you don’t take proper care, it can lead to acute dehydration and even prove fatal. Our digestive system is greatly challenged thanks to the ever-widening menu of strange foods, colours, food chemicals, processing chemicals, additives, and preservatives. To add to this, we often eat irregularly, exercise very little, work late, get less sleep and are constantly under stress. No wonder most of us have poor digestive systems, a reduced immune response and increased susceptibility to digestive problems like diarrhoea.
What is Diarrhea?
Diarrhea in summers is not a disease in itself; it is a symptom. Diarrhea may be caused by an infection in the gastrointestinal tract transmitted through contaminated food and water or dietary factors such as faulty food preferences and specific allergies or even emotional factors such as stress and anxiety. The digestive system gets weakened due to dehydration in summer. This leads to low digestive power. This is further weakened by vitiation of doshas and dhatus due to high environmental temperature. So, following diets that increase the power of digestion and strengthen the digestive system is the best way to prevent and mange diarrhea in summers.
Acute diarrhea is characterised by a sudden onset and frequent passage of watery and unformed stools, usually accompanied by other symptoms such as abdominal pain, cramps, weakness, and at times, vomiting and fever. This episode may last for 24 to 48 hours and because of the danger of dehydration, replacement of water, and electrolyte attains prime importance.
However, try to keep the fibre intake to a minimum (1 to 2 grams per day) to give rest to the intestines. The ideal source of cereals in the diet should be rice, semolina, boiled potatoes and pasta. Restrict your intake of fats as they do not digest easily.
Tips to Manage Diarrhea in Summers
The best way to manage acute diarrhea is to replenish fluid and electrolyte loss. Although water is extremely important in preventing dehydration, it does not contain electrolytes. So, to compensate for the lost electrolytes, it’s advisable to have broth or soups that contain sodium. You can also have fruit juices made of banana and chikoo, electrolyte replacement drinks or vegetables rich in potassium.
Depending on the cause of the problem, your doctor will prescribe a medicine to reduce symptoms or treat the infection. Children should ideally be provided with an oral rehydration solution to replace lost fluids and electrolytes.
Some guidelines you must follow:
- Do not eat solid foods.
- Avoid eating left-overs and stale food during summers to prevent upsetting your stomach.
- Watch your plate and steer clear of raw or uncooked foods such as cut salads and cold cuts, especially the ones served in roadside stalls. Avoid chutneys, mawa sweets, paani puri and bhel puri since the hot temperature renders these places as a breeding ground for bacteria and germs. It’s best to rely on freshly prepared food at good clean eating joints when you are eating out in summers.
- Replace water with electrolytes.
- Make sure you drink clean filtered boiled and cool water.
- Wash all fruits and vegetables thoroughly, particularly leafy ones and cauliflower. They not only contain larvae and worms but also collect dirt from the streets.
- Include naturally sour food (not fermented) such as tamarind, tomato, lime, thin buttermilk, and kokum in your diet.
- Moong dal is easy to digest and so is coconut water, buttermilk, rice water, cooked carrots, chicken stew or whey water.
- Garlic, pepper, ginger, asafoetida, south, turmeric, coriander, and jeera improve immunity. Thus, use them liberally in your recipes during summers.
- Vegetables recommended are bhindi, dudhi, parwal, suran, roasted baingan, and karela. Choose fruits that are high in water content such as watermelon, muskmelon, oranges, and sweet lime.
- Peppermint leaves are helpful in combating indigestion. Just dip the tea bag in hot water and sip it after meals.
- Non-vegetarians should go in for lighter meat preparations like soups and stews rather than heavy curries. .
- Avoid dairy products such as milk and paneer. However, skimmed milk curd is good as it is rich in beneficial bacteria.
These tips are effective if combined with correct eating habits while avoiding stimulants such as tobacco and caffeine. Remember, diarrhea is a temporary event and you can easily avoid it with a little bit of caution.