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Diarrhea Is Way More Complicated Than We Thought

Diarrhea is one of the leading causes of death in childhood worldwide. Despite this fact, diarrhea remains poorly understood. The good news is that scientists are getting closer to understanding the process by which water enters the intestines in order to generate diarrhea. Science Alert reports that their findings, based on mice studies, may enhance our understanding of this potentially fatal illness.

One of the more interesting findings in this study was that the mechanism behind diarrhea is a protein that facilitates water passing through the intestinal wall. This raises the possibility that treating diarrhea directly may not always be the best approach and that further research into leaky gut syndrome could potentially yield amazing results. 

Scientists found that attempting to halt or control diarrhea could actually have an adverse impact on the mice in the study. This suggested that efforts to control the water in stools may have unforeseen consequences but none of this should downplay the danger posed by diarrhea. There are ways to protect yourself and your family from this potentially serious communicable disease. But first, you need to know its causes and how it is transmitted. 

Infectious diarrhea is generally caused by bacterial, viral and parasitic infections. One of the most common culprits is E. coli. These bacteria are usually spread through contaminated food or water, including undercooked meats or infected produce. E. coli can also be found in swimming pools and petting zoos, both of which are common causes of diarrhea in children.

Shigellosis is an intestinal disease that usually causes bloody diarrhea. The Mayo Clinic website states that this infection can be transmitted through direct contact with the bacteria from stool. One example is when you don’t wash your hands well enough after changing an infected person’s diaper. Take note that some people who are infected may have no symptoms, but they remain infectious. Shigella bacteria can also spread through contaminated food or water.

Giardia parasites are generally found in backcountry streams and lakes, but they can also lurk in municipal water supplies, wells and swimming pools. This type of infection can also spread through person-to-person contact and infected food. Typically causing watery diarrhea, infection with this parasite is one of the most common causes of waterborne disease in the U.S.

Rotavirus is a fecal oral transmittable disease. It is a common cause of viral diarrhea in infants and children, according to the CDC. Rotavirus is present in the stool of an infected person several days before symptoms begin, and up to 10 days after symptoms stop. The virus infects others through hand-to-mouth contact during this time, and can spread to anything an infected person touches, such as food, toys and utensils. It is highly contagious because the virus can stay on surfaces and remain infectious for weeks.

Protecting yourself and your family from infectious diarrhea is simple. Learn how to wash your hands properly and teach your family members as well. Make it a rule at home to wash hands before eating, after using the bathroom and after handling pets or pet waste.

Improper food handling is a major disease vector for infectious diarrhea. People who are sick with diarrhea should not prepare or handle food. Wash all fruits and vegetables thoroughly before consumption. Uncooked meats should be separated from other food items. Perishable food items should be stored in the refrigerator or freezer. 

Avoiding dangerous pathogens is just the first step to avoiding diarrhea. It is also important to boost your immune system with healthy bacteria. Add probiotic foods, which can help maintain proper digestive system function, to your family’s healthy diet. Fermented foods are loaded with good bacteria. These probiotics do more than just ward off watery stools. Research has repeatedly shown that the ideal balance of good and bad bacteria in your gut forms the foundation for physical, mental and emotional well-being.
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