Diarrhoea (or diarrhea) is when you pass looser or more frequent stools than you do normally. It is one of the main symptoms of gastroenteritis, the other is vomiting. Gastroenteritis is inflammation of the stomach or intestine as a result of a bacterial or viral infection. Diarrhoea usually lasts for 2-4 days without the need for treatment, however severe diarrhoea may be life threatening. This is due to fluid loss in watery diarrhoea, particularly in infants and young children, the malnourished and people with weakened immunity. Sadly, diarrhoeal disease globally is the second leading cause of death in children under the age of 5, being responsible for approximately 760, 000 child deaths each year.
The good news is, diarrhoea can be prevented. Through the provision of safe drinking water, improved sanitation (including provision of proper facilities for the safe disposal of human waste) and by practicing hand hygiene by washing with soap and water, the risk of diarrhoeal disease can be significantly reduced.