How Do You Treat Diarrhoea? Norman Swan

by | Gastrointestinal Health

Diarrhoea can be treated with fluid replacement and taking electrolyte solution which are available at most chemists. However if you have blood in your diarrhoea also if a child is vomiting and not keeping their fluids down it is important to go and see a doctor urgently.

The treatment of diarrhoea depends on the sort of diarrhoea that you have. And particularly if you have diarrhoea with blood in it you really wanna check it out with your doctor and make sure that you don’t have something called Shigella, which can really make you quite sick.

But the most treatments for diarrhoea involve fluid replacement. So it’s very unusual. It’s very rare in Australia to have anybody with cholera but cholera does occur in low income countries. And the treatment of that is high amounts of fluids very, very quickly so that people don’t die of dehydration. But most diarrhoea occur, is not as severe, is nowhere near as severe. But most diarrhoea that you would experience in Australia, it’s nowhere near as severe as cholera and requires fluid replacement. And that fluid replacement is with oral electrolyte solution that you can buy in the chemist. But if you’re vomiting and not keeping that down and become dehydrated, or if a child is becoming the mouth is dry, their breath is smelling. Then you really do need to go into the emergency department to get that checked out, in case the child needs a drip but with good oral electrolyte solution very early on, it’s very unusual these days for a child to get dehydrated.

They’ll get through it and even if they’re vomiting they’ll usually keep enough time. There is a question mark over whether or not a breastfed baby with diarrhoea should continue to be breastfed and most people believe that they should.

Dr Norman Swan, Physician and Journalist