That uncomfortable feeling. By Dr Ron Vail.

Acute Diarrhoea is defined as the sudden onset of 3 or more loose or watery stools per day and ending within 2 weeks. The average adult has around 4 bouts of acute diarrhoea per year. Most cases stop within a few days and don’t require treatment. Diarrhoea can be caused by infections, medications, food allergies and several medical conditions.  Infectious diarrhoea usually results from eating or drinking contaminated food or water, and symptoms start within 12 hours to four days after exposure and stop within a week.
People with mild diarrhoea do not usually need to go to the doctor, especially if the diarrhoea begins to improve within 48 hours. However if you develop any of the following, you should call your doctor or nurse:
-Profuse watery diarrhoea with sluggishness.
-Becoming tired easily, dry mouth and tongue.
-Thirst.
-Muscle cramps.
-Dark-colored urine.
-Urinating infrequently.
-Dizziness or lightheadedness after standing or sitting up.
-Temperature ≥38.5ºC.
-Bloody or black diarrhoea.
-Passage of many small stools containing blood and mucus.
-More severe features such as abdominal pain, chest pain, confusion, or difficulty remaining alert.
-Passing 6 or more watery stools per 24 hours or illness that lasts more than 48 hours.
-Persistent diarrhoea after finishing antibiotics, you are 70 or older, or have other medical illness or a weakened immune system.
Treatment of diarrhoea is with fluids containing water, salt and sugar. An inexpensive home-made solution consists of:1 ltr of water, mixed with 8 tsp of sugar, 1 tsp of table salt. A half cup of orange juice or half of a mashed banana can be added to each litre to add potassium and improve taste.
Try to eat a little food. Good choices are potatoes, noodles, rice, oatmeal, crackers, bananas, soup, and boiled vegetables. Salty foods help the most.
Antibiotics are not needed for most people with diarrhoea. Medications to reduce diarrhoea are available without a prescription but usually are not necessary and can even delay the resolution of the diarrhoea. They are safe if there is no fever (temp > 38ºC) and the stools are not bloody. These medications do not cure the cause of the diarrhoea, but help to reduce the frequency of bowel movements.
Many people don’t need any tests at all. But it’s possible your doctor will want to do blood, urine or stool tests. These tests can show whether you have an infection, and if so, what kind. They can also show if you are dehydrated.
If you have diarrhoea, be careful to avoid spreading the infection to family, friends, and co-workers. You are contagious for as long as diarrhoea continues, so you should stay home from work or school until you feel better. Infections are usually spread from hand to mouth. Be sure to wash your hands after changing diapers, cooking, eating, going to the bathroom, taking out the trash, touching animals, and blowing your nose.
Pay attention to food safety. Tips include:
-Not drinking unpasteurized milk or foods made with it.
-Washing fruits and vegetables well before eating them.
-Keeping the refrigerator colder than 40ºF and the freezer below 0ºF.
-Cooking meat and seafood until well done.
-Cooking eggs until the yolk is firm.
-Washing hands, knives, and cutting boards after they touch raw food.