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I am a cleanly person, but I got a norovirus diarrhea. I went from feeling great to not so great in an hour, then to high velocity diarrhea in another hour. In another hour I voluntarily vomited all I could in hopes of clearing our whatever it was that ailed me, but without feeling better. Over the next day I felt rotten, with intestinal cramps and more diarrhea. It’s strange how discouraging nausea can be. The rest of my life is just fine, but with the nausea my whole life felt like what the old Brits call a brown study, contemplating my options.

By the end of the next day I was feeling not only nauseous but tired, weak, achy and thirsty. It was strange that I felt so thirsty because I was drinking a lot of water and black tea. Black tea is reported to help clear out intestinal bugs. About this time I Googled my symptoms and they were a ringer for norovirus. I read all the articles presented on the first page, including the long one in Wikipedia. Those sites reassured me that I wasn’t in deadly peril, but their consistent advice was, drink plenty of water.

Then on the CDC site I read, “Severe dehydration may require hospitalization for treatment with fluids given through your vein (intravenous or IV fluids). If you think you or someone you are caring for is severely dehydrated, call the doctor.” This reminded me of a blog post I did a couple of years ago, Cholera was expected, preventable and treatable. Part of that post was a home remedy for treating deadly diarrhea epidemic, which people in Port-au-Prince, Haiti were experiencing after their horrible earthquake.

The basic treatment is simple and available to everyone.

The at-home preparation Oral Rehydration Therapy (ORT)

An example of a home formula is — 1 level teaspoon of salt, 8 level teaspoons of sugar, and (optionally) 4 ounces (113g) of orange juice; mixed into 1 liter of clean water. If the water source is questionable, it should be boiled for 10 minutes and allowed to cool before mixing the solution.

That is advice that will make a real difference for acute diarrhea and might save your life if medical intravenous electrolyte treatment isn’t available. The reason this recently discovered solution works so well at reducing deaths is because the intestine needs both salt and sugar to pass water and salt back through the cell walls and back into the body.

It wasn’t until reading the web articles that I remembered my own post, quoted above, and applied the treatment to myself. That is, 8 teaspoons sugar, one teaspoon salt stirred in some warm water and I drank half, waited a half hour and drank the rest. It didn’t taste bad; after all, it’s about like eating potato chips, with a glass of water. What surprised me was that I felt better so quickly. It was only ten minutes after the first drink and I felt half normal, not great, but not miserable either. And after the second drink I felt half better yet again, that is, almost normal.

Treat diarrhea with 1 teaspoon salt, 8 teaspoons sugar in 1 liter clean water.