Agraphia Medical Tragicomedy

9May/06Off

Mom’s Chicken Soup

Topic of the Day: Diarrhea!

So we had this awesome lecture on explosive diarrhea. I know, I know, gross. But honestly, cholera and other 3rd world illnesses are some of the coolest things we've learned about so far. It's extremely dangerous- death by diarrhea is the 2nd most common killer of children worldwide, preceded only by malaria.

Turns out that there are a whole lot of factors influencing poop. It's fascinating, really. Cholera is particularly nasty because unlike lactose intolerance (where you can't digest milk, so you get indigestion after drinking it), your body actually vigorously flushes out the bacteria... but in doing so, completely levels the inside of your intestines, like a flood through Mayan ruins. Bad times. The cholera also leaves behind a toxin that forces you to secrete fluid into the gut... and this means that you've got 3-6 days of pure fun to look forward to while your intestines furiously regenerate.

So why, you ask, am I telling you about diarrhea? Because of what they treat it with: pedialyte/WHO rehydration therapy. Water (to rehydrate), salt (to replenish lost electrolytes), sugar (required to absorb the salt), and fat (helps the intestine grow back). These are all ingredients in Pedialyte, the World Health Organization rehydrating solution... and in chicken soup.

Turns out, home remedies are way important. In America, we've got chicken soup. In Mexico, they have horchata. In Japan, miso. But in Africa, where all these kids are dying of cholera, they don't have traditional "rehydrating" foods, which is why the WHO rehydrating solution has helped so many people.

Lesson learned: listen to mom, at least when she tells you to eat chicken soup so you feel better. She's right. Though she wasn't right about my 9PM curfew in high school. Or about my younger sister's new boyfriend... I knew that guy was an ass when I first saw him.

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