Can diarrhea be prevented?

There are a few ways you can decrease your chances of having diarrhea, including:

  • Avoiding infections with good hygiene habits: Washing your hands with soap and water after using the bathroom, as well as cooking, handling, and eating, is an important way to prevent diarrhea. Washing your hands thoroughly can really help keep you and those around you stay healthy.
  • Getting your vaccinations: Rotavirus, one of the causes of diarrhea, can be prevented with the rotavirus vaccine. This is given to infants in several stages during the first year of life.
  • Storing food properly: By keeping your food stored at the right temperatures, not eating things that have gone bad, cooking food to the recommended temperature and handling all foods safely, you can prevent diarrhea.
  • Watching what you drink when you travel: Traveler’s diarrhea can happen when you drink water or other drinks that haven’t been treated correctly. This is most likely to happen in developing countries. To avoid getting diarrhea there are a few tips to follow. Watch what you drink. Don’t drink tap water, use ice cubes, brush your teeth with tap water, or consume unpasteurized milk, milk products or unpasteurized juices. You should also be careful when trying local foods from street vendors, eating raw or undercooked meats (and shellfish), as well as raw fruits and vegetables. When in doubt, drink bottled water or something that’s been boiled first (coffee or tea).

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 04/13/2020.

References

  • US Department of Health and Human Services, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Diarrhea. Accessed 4/17/2020.
  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Diarrhea: Common Illness, Global Killer. Accessed 4/17/2020.
  • Merck Manual Professional Version. Diarrhea. Accessed 4/17/2020.

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