A COMMON DISEASE IN SUMMER: DIARRHEA
We lose a large amount of body fluid via evaporation and transpiration due to the increase in temperature during the summer. The underlying reason of diarrhea, which is more prevalent during summer, includes contaminated water we drink to replace lost fluid and eliminate thirsty, water with unknown origin, and vegetables and fruits washed with contaminated water.
Those who have picnic in the summer use spring water or fountain as drinking water at the picnic site. However, such spring water or fountain is usually contaminated with human and animal feces or waste water. Even if you do not use water with unknown origin and if you wash fruits and vegetables with contaminated water, the result will be microbial contamination. In particular, the risk is higher for raw food and nuts (foods with shell). Ice cubes, which are frozen using contaminated water, may lead to intestinal infection since molten ice will contaminate your drink.
On the other hand, foods spoil quickly due to high ambient temperature. Foods spoil secondary to hot environmental temperature or microbial proliferation on poorly stored foods. Dairy products, mayonnaise, meat, cream and egg are more prone to spoiling than other foods. Foods are sold under poor conditions or they are exposed to hot environmental temperature in “open buffets” of hotels and holiday villages, resulting with a perfect medium for proliferation of microorganisms. Ingestion of these foods leads to the clinical picture of food poisoning
Microorganisms are taken into the body on foods and beverages and they lead to many gastrointestinal symptoms including but not limited to nausea and vomiting followed by increased frequency of defecation, loose stool, watery stool and fever. Diarrhea causes loss of body fluids and salt. If loss of water and salt cannot be replaced, which are secondary to vomiting or poor nutrition, dry mouth, dry skin, fatigue, drowsiness and fever may occur. Bloody diarrhea, severe abdominal pain, decreased urine volume, absence of tears in crying child and poor oral intake, frequent vomiting, high fever, frequent and severe diarrhea, dry mouth, weight loss and excessive thirst are conditions requiring immediate medical attention. Fluid replacement may be required if fluid loss is severe.
Diarrhea usually lasts 3-6 days in mild cases. Loose stool may persist a bit longer. Loose stool will not lead a serious problem, if overall state of the child is good and oral fluid intake is sufficient.
Treatment of diarrhea involves replacement of water and salt loss. Ingestion of water, intravenous rehydration and ingestion salt-rich foods (salty buttermilk) and potassium-rich foods (boiled potatoes, bananas, apples,) will be a good approach. You should not take drugs which stop diarrheic condition. Medical treatment may be needed for parasites or bacteria which are isolate in culture or urine microscopy.
It's not necessary to interrupt cow milk for children who have mild diarrhea. Breastfed infants should be fed at shorter intervals. In older children, a low-fat and potassium-rich diet can be considered which does not aggravate diarrhea (yogurt, buttermilk, low-fat pasta, boiled potatoes, white cheese, bread ...). Carbonated drinks, mineral water and beverages such as skimmed milk are not suitable for use.
Food must be stored in the refrigerator to prevent diarrhea and you should avoid foods, which are not appropriately stored and sold. Power outage also plays a role in spoilage of foods during summer. Power outage causes thawing ice cream, which should be continuously stored at low temperatures, and microbial organism will proliferate on such foods, resulting with infection. Ice cream should be bought from reliable stores.
Hand washing is the best method to prevent diarrhea. You will suffer from diarrhea if you digest foods, which are touched or prepared by contaminated hands, even in small portions. Therefore, we should ensure our children gain the habit of hand washing.