You can lose a lot of liquid in diarrhea, but you also lose electrolytes, minerals such as sodium and potassium that are critical in the running of your body. Here's how to replace what you're losing:
- Drink plenty of fluids. Consume two quarts (eight cups) of fluids a day, three quarts (12 cups) if you're running a fever. Plain water lacks electrolytes, but it's a good, gentle-on-the-tummy option that can help you replace some of the fluid that you've lost. Other choices include weak tea with a little sugar, sports drinks such as Gatorade, flat soda pop (decaffeinated flavors such as ginger ale are best), and fruit juices other than apple and prune, which have a laxative effect.
- Buy an over-the-counter electrolyte replacement formula. Pedialyte, Rehydralyte, and Ricelyte are available without a prescription from your local drugstore. These formulas contain fluids and minerals in the proper proportion.
Whatever you choose to drink, keep it cool; it will be less irritating that way. Sip, don't guzzle; it will be easier on your insides if you take frequent sips of liquid instead of guzzling down a glass at a time.