Have a patient with acute diarrhea? Here is a reasonable strategy:
If there is no significant fever, abdominal pain, signs of dehydration or bloody/mucoid stools, you can implement a watchful waiting period for 3-5 days with the patient. Most cases of acute diarrhea are viral in nature. Even if there is a bacterial food poisoning present, it will usually self-resolve within 5-7 days.
Instruct the patient to return by day 5 for stool studies if symptoms are failing to improve or worsening. Usually the patient never returns because the diarrhea resolves by itself. Occasionally though, they will return and you will pick up salmonella, campylobacter, cryptosporidium , etc…
As always, use your own clinical judgement in any type of acute presentation.