How to Prevent and Alleviate Diarrhea

For those with food allergies, diarrhea can be a common occurrence. Sometimes due to cross contamination, as in gluten allergies, or in situations where you mistakenly ingest a food that you are allergic to, an upset stomach may be the result. Other times we may not know the exact cause, but nonetheless it can be an uncomfortable and discouraging situation. It is often helpful to be aware of what to do when you have diarrhea and how you might prevent it from happening in the first place.


In the Case of Diarrhea

Be sure to keep hydrated. When you have diarrhea you often lose a lot of fluid and salt, and can easily get dehydrated. Sports drinks are the perfect way to keep hydrated due to their sugar and salt content, which allows water to more easily be absorbed by the body. Consuming clear liquids are also recommended as a way to keep the body hydrated. On the contrary, it is important to avoid caffeinated, sugary, or alcoholic drinks which might worsen the diarrhea. 

Following a bland and limited diet will also be helpful to get your bowels back to normal. Try to stick to simple foods that are considered low residue. The BRAT diet is often suggested as a way to help regulate the bowels.  The BRAT diet consists of: bananas, rice, applesauce and toast. Elimination diets can also be helpful if you are not sure of which food may have upset your stomach. 

There are several over-the-counter medications that can also be used to temporarily resolve diarrhea.

  Popular medications include Imodium and Pepto Bismol, but it is important to not rely on any of these on a regular basis. It is important to let your physician know if your diarrhea is not resolving within 24-48 hours.

Remedies to Prevent Diarrhea

Many studies suggest adding yogurt to your diet on a regular basis.

Foods with “active cultures” such as many of the yogurts on the market, provide your body with beneficial bacteria that can protect the bowels from bad bacteria. Making these probiotics a part of your regular diet can also help to prevent frequent bowel upset.

Good overall hygiene will help to reduce your body to exposure to harmful bacteria or contamination of food allergens. Washing your hands before and after you eat, along with after using the bathroom. Keep hand sanitizer and wipes within easy access for times when sinks are not readily available, such as when traveling or in shopping malls.  

Additionally, when preparing foods it is important to carefully wash the countertops, dishes and cooking utensils before and after each use. This is especially important when preparing foods for those who have food allergies. This will minimize the chances of contamination or accidental ingestion of the food allergens. When preparing fruits and vegetables it is also important to wash them prior to consumption.

Undercooked and raw meats are very susceptible to bacteria, which can easily cause diarrhea. Be certain to fully cook meats and disinfect any areas used for cutting prior to cooking.

Bottom line is diarrhea is never something we plan on experiencing. The best we can do is to try to minimize how often it happens by following these tips and in the event it happens, do all we can to keep ourselves healthy until it passes. 

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