– How and why were people dying from diarrhea back in olden times?


Diarrhea was, apparently, a common cause of death about 100 years ago or so. How? I ate some bad food, and my poop stopped being solid, and now *I’m going to die?!?*

I ate some really, really delicious General Tso’s Chicken yesterday from a local restaurant. Hours later, well, I think you can do the math. The after-effects are still hitting me today. Annoying, sure, but if this were 100 years ago, apparently my current state means I need to whip out my fountain pen and start writing letters to my beloveds, telling them to please take care of my poor cow Bessie, such a good little lady over all these years, please give her the love she deserves as I slip the surly bonds of earth and touch the face of God. Either that, or, I could just drink a bit of water and eat some incredibly inoffensive food like bread (wasn’t everyone basically eating bread and little else back then anyway) and regain my health?

Can someone explain?

In: 0

In many cases the diarrhea was caused by the water they were drinking. Losing all the water while pooping it out and replacing it with more bad water created a cycle which would lead to dehydration and death.

You lose a lot of water when you have diarrhea. If you can’t replenish fluids with a lot of safe, clean water then it can become fatal.

I’m a time when dirty was the norm, clean drinking water was water that was “clear”

Imagine you have the same general Tsos that gives you the tummy twisters, and instead of heavily filtered/treated water, you instead quench your thirst with the water running down the rain gutter outside.

Diarrhea still kills a lot of kids in developing countries. It’s mostly due to dehydration and electrolyte imbalance. Oral Rehydration Solution has saved a lot of lives. But they didn’t have that knowledge back then.

The issue wasn’t just hydration and “food”, there are significant nutrients that must also be replenished. Electrolytes aren’t going to be recovered by choking down a crust of bread and it isn’t like they can grab a bottle of Gatorade back then. If you poop all your potassium out then your heart will stop.