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Health A-Z

Medical Content Created by the Faculty of the
Harvard Medical School

Prevention

If you are caring for someone who has diarrhea, you may be able to avoid spreading potentially harmful bacteria by taking these steps:

  • Wash your hands frequently, especially after using the toilet, changing diapers or cleaning bedpans.

  • Use detergent and chlorine bleach to wash clothing that has been soiled with stool.

  • Wipe contaminated bathroom surfaces with a chlorine-based household cleaner.

If you are taking an antibiotic yourself, you might be able to reduce the medication's effects on your normal bowel bacteria by eating yogurt that contains live cultures.

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From Health A-Z, Harvard Health Publications. Copyright 2007 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College. All rights reserved. Written permission is required to reproduce, in any manner, in whole or in part, the material contained herein. To make a reprint request, contact Harvard Health Publications. Used with permission of StayWell.

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