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Home Remedies for Diarrhea

Updated: Jun 21, 2020

Diarrhea is common among children, particularly when they are in growing phases of their life. There can be plethora of reasons ranging from food infections to medical conditions. Sometimes diarrhea can be acute or chronic.

Before you ask your child to pop a pill, think of age old remedial measures to correct the condition. So, here, I'm taking you back through natural remedies that can help your little ones from diarrhea.

First and foremost prevention in diarrhea is:

Prevent Dehydration

  • Severe diarrhoea with vomiting can cause dehydration due to fluid loss. Act quickly to replace the fluid loss with water and Oral Rehydration Solution (ORS). Water alone is not enough as it lacks the right amount of electrolytes.

  • ORS – It is a perfect balance of water, salt and sugar. ORS is easily available in pharmacy. Else mix 8 tsp of sugar and 1 tsp salt to 1 L water (take care not to add too much salt as it can be dangerous to kids). ORS should be sipped frequently to reduce the episode of diarrhoea. If vomiting occurs, wait for 5-10 minutes and then start slowly.

  • For older children, tender coconut water is adviced and can be had in sips at regular intervals to prevent dehydration due to Diarrhea.

  • In case of infants, breastfeed is often required. Breastfeeding is more protective and breastfed babies are less likely to develop infectious diarrhea compared to bottle fed babies. Offer each breast for 1-2 minutes each every 10 minutes. If bottle feeding, increase the amount of extra fluid depending on the weight and age. For a new-born its 30 ml at each extra feeding while for 12 month age its 90 ml at each extra feeding. Stop when your child starts feeding normally.

2. Eat normally:

  • Consume buttermilk in sips at every 1 hour interval. It is a natural probiotic.

  • On the other hand, plain and fresh set curds contain numerous bacteria that help to improve gut microflora. Natural plain yogurts also are cultured with good bacteria to prevent the frequency of diarrhea.

  • Once appetite returns, start eating normal food but less fatty and less spicy. Eat small light foods like idli, thin clear soups without butter as a diet during this condition.

  • Other foods like boiled vegetables, stewed apple (boiled apple pieces with 1 tsp sugar and 1/4 tsp nutmeg powder), dry toast, etc. can be included.

  • Avoid aerated drinks and processed soups, soda, gelatin desserts, chicken broth, etc. as these can make diarrhea worse due to imbalance of salt and sugar.

  • Fruit Popsicles may help in case of vomiting with slow rehydration.

3. Rest:

  • Dehydration can result in tiredness and fatigue. Taking adequate rest can lead to better recovery and eating.

4. Probiotics:

  • In case of antibiotic induced diarrhoea, probiotics help to replenish healthy gut bacteria killed by antibiotics. As discussed above plain thin yogurts, buttermilk with salt, yoghurt with green banana, yoghurt with roasted jeera powder, etc may be recommended as a home remedy for diarrhoea.

A study (Department of Paediatrics, University College of Medical Sciences and GTB hospital, Delhi) conducted in hospital as well as in a community showed that Acitemel, Fermented milk containing Lactobacillus casei and Indian Dahi significantly reduced the duration of diarrhea in children.

5. Lactose free diet:

  • After diarrhea lasting for long duration, children's body may find it difficult to break down lactose. So a lactose free diet or formula is recommended in such cases.

  • Milk, cheese and other dairy products (except yoghurt and buttermilk) are to be avoided as small intestine is affected and can make it hard to digest milk.

6. Immunization: Rotavirus is the causative agent of most of the infections in children. Hence immunizing your child with rotavirus will prevent diarrhea.

7. Medication: Over-the-counter medication is not necessary in children with diarrhea as it generally settles on its own. In case of severe dehydration, hospitalization will be required for administering Intravenous fluids.

8. General Hygiene: As a preventive measure of food poisoning through contamination, wash hands after using toilet and before meals. Use clean utensils or sterilize before preparing baby foods. Refrigerate raw meat as soon as possible.

Find a cause: In infants, teething may cause diarrhea. The other causes may be food poisoning, food allergy, food intolerance, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), etc. knowing the cause may help to treat the condition accordingly

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