This is a common symptom of the common cold. But it can be caused by many things, including food poisoning.
The virus that causes the common cold can also cause diarrhea. You might also have loose stools.
If your stool is loose and watery, you may be dehydrated.
Other symptoms of dehydration include:
- Decreased urination
- Low blood pressure
Dehydration can be mild or severe. Mild dehydration may not be noticeable. Severe dehydration is life-threatening.
Severe dehydration can be caused by:
- Not drinking enough fluids
- High fever
- Not eating enough
This is called a water intoxication.
Symptoms of dehydration become worse if you don’t get enough fluids.
Diarrhea after drinking water
Frequent diarrhea is a common symptom of the common cold. But it can also be caused by other infections.
Stomach flu is a viral infection that causes diarrhea, vomiting, and stomach pain. It’s a contagious illness that’s spread through bodily fluids.
Food poisoning is another cause of diarrhea. It’s caused by eating contaminated food.
Cases of food poisoning have been reported worldwide.
This is why it’s important to wash your hands after handling food and to cook foods to the proper temperature.
Diarrhea after drinking alcohol
Excessive alcohol use can cause diarrhea.
Alcohol use can also cause dehydration.
Symptoms of dehydration include:
- Dry mouth
- Blurred vision
Diarrhea after drinking alcohol is usually temporary. It usually goes away within a few days.
Diarrhea after eating food that’s too hot
The common cold can cause diarrhea. But it’s also possible to get diarrhea after eating food that’s too hot.
This is called heat-related diarrhea. It’s more common in hot and humid climates.
Symptoms of heat-related diarrhea include:
- Watery diarrhea
- Diarrhea that’s watery or bloody
Other symptoms of heat-related diarrhea include:
- Abdominal cramps
- Feeling lightheaded
- Diarrhea that’s extremely bloody
Diarrhea after eating food that’s too cold
Food poisoning can cause diarrhea. But it’s also possible to have diarrhea after eating food that’s too cold.
This is called ice cream diarrhea. It’s more common in the winter and in cold, dry climates. It’s also more likely to occur in children.
Symptoms of ice cream diarrhea include:
- Diarrhea that’s watery
- Stomach cramps
- Nausea and vomiting
What to do if you think you have diarrhea?
While diarrhea is common in the common cold, it’s important to know how to distinguish between common cold symptoms and those of something more serious.
Here are some things you can do if you think you have diarrhea:
- Drink plenty of water.
- Stay hydrated.
- Take over-the-counter (OTC) pain relievers to help relieve stomach cramps.
- Use OTC antidiarrheal medication.
- Take your temperature to determine whether you’re dehydrated.
- Take your temperature and your stool for a culture.
Always see your doctor if you have the following symptoms:
- Bloody stool
- Vomiting that’s bloodstained
- Severe stomach cramps
- Chest pain
- Shortness of breath
What causes diarrhea?
The common cold is caused by a virus. It’s also a contagious illness.
Other viruses can also cause diarrhea. These include:
- Hepatitis A
- Hepatitis B
These viruses can cause a range of symptoms, including:
- Acute diarrhea
- Stomach pain
- Abdominal pain
When to see a doctor?
See your doctor if you have:
- Diarrhea that’s bloody or watery
- Diarrhea that lasts more than two weeks
- Diarrhea that doesn’t improve with OTC medication
- Diarrhea that’s associated with other symptoms
Diarrhea in babies and children
Diarrhea is more common in children than adults. It’s usually a symptom of a virus, such as the common cold.
Babies and children with diarrhea may have other symptoms as well. These may include:
- A fever
- Pain in the abdomen
- Poor feeding
The symptoms may be mild at first, or they may get worse.
Children with diarrhea should see their pediatrician. They’ll want to do more to determine the cause of the diarrhea.
The doctor will also want to rule out other conditions.
Diarrhea can also be a sign of a more serious disease. In this case, you should seek immediate medical attention.
Diarrhea in older adults
Older adults are more likely than younger adults to get diarrhea. It’s also more common in adults who have a chronic health condition.
You may be more likely to get diarrhea if you have:
- Heart disease
- Kidney disease
- Crohn’s disease
- Ulcerative colitis
- Celiac disease
In these people, diarrhea is one of the first symptoms of a bowel condition.
Diarrhea can also be a symptom of certain medications. These include:
- Immunosuppressant medications
The symptoms can last for a few days or even weeks.
They can also be serious, so it’s important to see your doctor if you have diarrhea.
How is diarrhea diagnosed?
Diarrhea isn’t always easy to diagnose.
It’s often mistaken for a stomach bug.
Your doctor will ask you about your symptoms and your medical history. They’ll also ask about your diet and any medications you’re taking.
To diagnose diarrhea, your doctor will also do a physical exam. They’ll look at your stool and make a note of any other symptoms.
What is the treatment for diarrhea?
Your doctor will recommend the most appropriate treatment for you. The treatment will depend on your symptoms.
You may have to treat diarrhea at home. Or your doctor may suggest you visit a clinic or hospital.
You can take OTC medication if your diarrhea is mild.
You may also need to take OTC medication or an intravenous (IV) drip if the diarrhea is severe or if you have other serious symptoms.
What is the outlook for diarrhea?
The symptoms of diarrhea can usually be treated. These include:
- OTC medication
- Antidiarrheal medication
- OTC pain medication
In the case of dehydration, you may need to go to the hospital.
Diarrhea that’s associated with other serious symptoms will require a more serious treatment.
How can I prevent diarrhea?
You can help prevent diarrhea by:
- Drinking plenty of fluids.
- Washing your hands often.
- Cooking foods that tend to be raw or undercooked.
- Eating foods that are high in fiber.
- Eating foods that are high in protein.
The common cold is a viral infection that’s caused by a virus. It’s usually mild and will go away in a few days.
Diarrhea is a symptom of the common cold, but it can also be caused by other conditions.
If you think you have diarrhea, it’s important to make an appointment with your doctor. They may want to run some tests to determine what’s causing your diarrhea.
If the cause is the common cold, you can take OTC pain relievers to help relieve stomach cramps.
It’s important to know that diarrhea after the common cold is just a symptom, not a cause. It’s important to recognize the symptoms of the common cold and to take the appropriate measures to treat it.
Talk to your doctor if you think you have diarrhea. They may want to run tests to determine what’s causing the diarrhea.
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