John P. Cunha, DO, is a U.S. board-certified Emergency Medicine Physician. Dr. Cunha's educational background includes a BS in Biology from Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, and a DO from the Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences in Kansas City, MO. He completed residency training in Emergency Medicine at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center in Newark, New Jersey.
Adults should drink plenty of fluids to avoid
Replenishing water loss (due to diarrhea) is important. Avoid milk as it can
make diarrhea worse. Sports beverages (for example, Gatorade or Powerade) can be
beneficial because they replenish electrolytes in addition to providing
If the affected person is able to eat, avoid greasy or fatty foods. Adults,
toddlers, and children should be encouraged to
follow the "BRAT" diet (bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast). The BRAT diet
(diarrhea diet) is
a combination of foods used for decades to treat diarrhea. If diarrhea is accompanied by nausea,
have the person suck on ice chips until the nausea stops. After the diarrhea
subsides, avoid alcoholic beverages and spicy foods for two additional days.
Individuals should continue their usual activities if they are mildly ill with diarrhea;
however, strenuous exercise should be avoided because exercise increases the risk of dehydration.
Pregnant women with diarrhea should make sure to rehydrate to avoid
dehydration, and should consult their physician.
Infants and toddlers pose special problems because of their increased risk of dehydration. They should be offered a bottle frequently. Solutions such as Pedialyte may be more appealing than water. These fluids also contain necessary
electrolytes lost with diarrhea.
Never use salt tablets as they may worsen diarrhea.
Children with frequent stools, fever, or vomiting should stay at home and
avoid school and day-care until these symptoms go away. This allows the child to rest and recover
and prevents other children from being exposed to possible infection.
As mentioned previously, infants, toddlers, and children should be
encouraged to follow the "BRAT" diet (bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast). The
BRAT diet (diarrhea diet) is a combination of foods used for decades to treat