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Gastro-intestinal issues in a crisis

On a regular day, in regular times, popping a couple of pills to sort out Dehli belly, Montezumas revenge or whatever else you want to call it, is second nature. A really bad stomach upset may see you consulting a doctor, and a really, really bad case, may lead you to the hospital.

What will you do if the doctors are no longer there? The hospitals are closed or full of the displaced and the diseased? You have no idea what bug you have, and you have no way to find out. I daresay you will pop another couple of pills and hope the problem goes away. Well it won’t. Sorry, but your body does not work that way.

The oxygen free environment in your gut supports both good and bad bacteria, when the bad outnumber the good, you spend the day in the bathroom. When the good outnumber the bad, you don’t, it really is that simple.

The good thing about taking anti-diarrhoeal drugs, is that they do exactly what it says on the box…they stop you going to the bathroom. The bad thing about anti-diarrhoeal drugs is that they do exactly what they say on the box…they stop you going to the bathroom. NO THAT LAST LINE IS NOT A MISTAKE. Having a drug that does what it is claimed to do, is generally a good thing, but, when that drug is sealing in the bacteria/virus that is making you ill, allowing it to remain in the environment that favours its multiplication, then it is not a good thing. In fact it is a bad thing, and doing it can lead to it becoming a very, very bad thing…like a fatally bad thing.

Vomiting and/or diarrhoea are your bodies defence mechanisms kicking in, you body is trying to rid itself of the bacteria/virus that is making it sick. Unless those toxins exit the body in a timely fashion you can become very ill very quickly. Allowing nature to take its course can also lead to problems, but thankfully these are problems that are relatively easy to solve. A person suffering from sickness and/or diarrhoea will very rapidly become dehydrated and weak. This can be combated by replacing the electrolytes, the salts and the sugars, and the fluids they are losing. These solutions can be purchased over the counter, in granule or powder form and are reconstituted with water. They store well if kept cool and dry, but as with most things they lose some efficiency over time. If you do not have these to hand, half a teaspoon of salt and two teaspoons of sugar dissolved in hot water and left to cool will be a good way to start the re-hydration process. It will not stay in the system for long, like I said, nature has her way of ridding us of bugs, but some of it will have been absorbed. Repeat this at least every three hours to keep on top of the problem.

It is not only salt and sugars that are being lost, all other vitamins and minerals are diminishing as well. Crush a multivitamin and mineral tablet up, mix with the salt and sugars as before and administer every three hours. In situations like this it is the dehydration that kills and rehydration is your number one priority.

If this condition persists for longer than 48 hours, and you have stored antibiotics, start giving them now, make sure the patient is not allergic to them, now is not the time to induce anaphylaxis, you should stop the rehydration therapy just for a couple of hours in the hope that the antibiotics will remaining the system long enough to start working.give them according to the recommendations on the container. If you have no antibiotics, or the person is allergic to them, continue as previously described with the rehydration therapy alone. Eventually, the bacteria will be flushed from the system and the symptoms will start to die down, either that or the antibiotics you have given will have started to work. There is no way of knowing which it is.

The patient may have lost a considerable amount of weight during the illness, and they may well feel weak for a considerable amount of time. Light foods should be offered at first, along with lots of liquids. Multivitamins with minerals will help replenish those that have been lost.

Now, back to the anti-diarrhoeal drugs. They have their uses, you have a bit of a upset stomach and you are going out…fine use them. You have had a little too much of something you know upsets your system….fine use them. They even come in handy for maintaining OPSEC, you need to maintain your position without interruption….they will stop you blowing your cover whilst you answer the call. They are fine for loose bowel moments, they are not fine for gastrointestinal illness, and if you think you don’t know the difference, well, you would if you had suffered it, and you will if you suffer from it in the future.

Take care

14 comments to Gastro-intestinal issues in a crisis

  • iaaems

    As someone who has the occaisional gippy stomach I find this article of great help and will print it out for future reference. Very many thanks for this.
    Usually I am able to get to grips with this by drinking water at regular intervals, not eating anything for 24 hours, and letting the body sort it all out.
    Would like to know what starts it off in the first place though, and then avoid it like the plague!

  • bigpaul

    if you come down with a virus that gives you the trots( as i did a few months ago) anti- biotics are no good for this and WONT be prescribed by your GP, you just have to sit and wait it out and let it runs its course.

  • Morning

    Iaaems, glad you found it useful.

    Paul totally agree.

    Take care

  • Paul

    Good article Lizzie

    Although poo blockers are useful, I never underestimate the importance of fluid loss.
    Cholera and Dysentery are two of the common disaster diseases and cause you to lose a liter of fluid AN HOUR.
    A dose of Norwark does a pretty good job of stripping you of fluids too.

    Lose over 20% of your body fluids (with me that’s only 8 liters) and without re-hydration you’re a hospital case by lunchtime.

    D.I.Y. Oral Re-hydration Liquid.
    1/2 teaspoon of salt ,
    6 teaspoons of sugar,
    and a liter of water.

    A good temporary fix but you need proper electrolyte replacement therapy as well. You can buy these in tablet or powder form.

    A DIY sugar free alternative with a mineral boost would be
    2 liters of water
    1 level teaspoon of salt
    1 level teaspoon of baking soda
    ½ teaspoon of salt substitute (potassium salt)

    This tastes pretty horrible so I always add an orange flavored vitamin C tablet.

  • fred

    Good to see you writing, Lizzie. Where is that lazy person, Skeane?

  • Fred…don’t say that he’ll not let me send any more lol

  • Northern Raider

    My wife and her colleagues often used to give children flat coke to drink in the days before dioralite etc, and in the army we used to use powdered charcoal mixed into milk to treat the galloping trots.

  • Northern raider

    I remember this also and it seemed to work.

    Take care

  • often wondered about that letting you self get rid of it or stoping it thanks for that

  • half_pint

    Burnt toast is supposed to help as well, think the burnt bits work like charcoal and help soak up the toxins.

  • fred

    I suspect Skeane is out prepping instead of writing.

  • Fred

    You have a good point there….maybe I should follow his example.

    Take care

  • Skean Dhude


    I couldn’t do your articles anyway even if I was writing. Interesting comments from Fred though/ Although he must be good at something I don’t see any of his articles on any of the sites. Perhaps he should put his sweaty little digits onto a keyboard and write something. If you do Fred I’ll check it out for you before I post it.

  • Druach

    If any of you have continual upset stomach and acid indigestion ask you doctor for a ‘Helicobacter’ test. This is a bug that lives happliy in your stomach and coats itself with a mucus to stop the stomach acid killing it. I had acidosis from four years old, no chocolate, fried food etc. However, I had the test a couple of years ago and they found the antibodies in the blood sample. Now cured, I can eat anything. Well worth the blood test.

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