Gastroenteritis: Description, Causes and Risk Factors:Alternative Names: Enterogastritis, stomach flu.GastroenteritisGastroenteritis is a very common illness in infants and children. It is usually caused by viruses that infect the bowel. It tends to be more common during winter months.Viruses are the most common cause of Gastroenteritis. There are many kinds of viruses, so gastroenteritis can occur more than once. Bacteria, parasites and food poisoning can also cause gastroenteritis. Food poisoning usually occurs 6 to 12 hours after eating spoiled food.Types:Viral Gastroenteritis: Causes may include:Astrovirus.
  • Enteric adenovirus.
  • Norovirus (also called Norwalk-like virus). It is common among school-age children.
  • Rotavirus, the leading cause of severe gastroenteritis in children. It can also infect adults exposed to children with the virus. Outbreaks may also occur in nursing homes.
Bacterial Gastroenteritis: Cause may include eating contaminated food, raw fish or oysters, raw fruits or vegetables that have not been washed well.Many different types of bacteria can cause bacterial gastroenteritis, including:Campylobacter jejuni.
  • Clostridium.
  • E. coli.
  • Salmonella.
  • Shigella.
  • Staphylococcus.
  • Yersinia
Others causes may include:Cryptosporidium.
  • Clostridium difficile.
  • Giardia lamblia.
  • Vibrio cholera.
  • Cyclospora.
Symptoms:Nausea and vomiting that may last a day or two.
  • Diarrhea which usually lasts one to three days or more.
  • Stomach cramps and pain.
  • Fever.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Chills.
  • Weight loss.
  • Muscle pain.
  • Blood or mucus in the diarrhea.
  • Blood in the vomit.
Diagnosis:In most cases of gastroenteritis get better without any treatment.If your symptoms persist or are severe, then your GP may take a sample of your stools (faeces). This can be checked for the presence of specific bacteria or parasites. If a bacterium or parasite is identified, your GP can prescribe the most suitable antibiotic or anti-parasitic medication for your condition.In some circumstances, blood and urine tests may be used to rule out other conditions, such as a urinary tract infection or pneumonia. This is normally recommended when your symptoms suggest that the infection is not limited to your digestive system.Tests May Include:Barium enema —An x ray of the bowel using a liquid called barium to enhance the image of the bowel. This test is also called a lower GI series.
  • Colonoscopy —An examination of the lining of the colon performed with a colonoscope.
Treatment:The patient should take bed rest. As long as nausea and vomiting persist he should not be given any food. Plenty of boiled water mixed with electrolyte to prevent dehydration by making sure the body has as much water and fluids as it should. Even if you are able to eat, you should still drink extra fluids between meals.Medical Treatment:Medicines to stop diarrhea such as loperamide (Imodium) are only recommended for adults. These medications slow down bowel movements, but have no effect on the excess fluid. Diarrhea is only prevented temporarily until you stop taking these medicines, then the excess fluid will be passed as diarrhea. However, they are useful if you absolutely need to travel and would not be near a toilet.Your GP may prescribe a medicine to help you stop being sick called an antiemetic. Antiemetics can be helpful if you have severe vomiting. If your are in pain, take an over-the-counter painkiller, such as paracetamol or ibuprofen. Always read the patient information that comes with your medicine and if you have any questions, ask your pharmacist for advice.If the gastroenteritis is caused by bacteria, virus, or parasites, respective antibacterial, antiviral, and antiparasitic medications will be recommended by your GP.If you have lost so much fluid that you are very dehydrated, hospital treatment may be needed to replace fluids directly into your bloodstream via a catheter into your veinHome remedies may include:Herbal teas, especially the ones prepared from blackberry root are regarded as excellent herbal home remedies for gastroenteritis. Garlic and thyme teas are also beneficial. Grapefruit seed extract can also be used for this purpose.
  • Take a glass of any citrus juice such as lemon, orange or pineapple and add some honey, rock salt and about half a teaspoon of corn syrup in it.
Preventive Measures:People should wash their hands frequently.
  • Ensure the house where you live must be clean (bathroom, utensils, and kitchen).
  • Ensuring that food is prepared safely well-cooked and unspoiled.
  • Meats should be refrigerated as soon as possible after bringing them home from the grocery store.
  • Cooked leftovers should be refrigerated as soon as possible.
Disclaimer: The above information is educational purpose. The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition.DISCLAIMER: This information should not substitute for seeking responsible, professional medical care.


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