Gastroenteritis – Symptoms & Treatment Advice For Good Health & Wellbeing

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Gastroenteritis is a inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract involving both the stomach as well as the small intestine. Gastroenteritis is also known as gastro, gastric flu, stomach flu and tummy bug. Although gastroenteritis often called a stomach flu, it has no relevance to the influenza virus. Gastroenteritis is caused by infection by a virus or bacteria which is usually ingested with food. The virus kills between 5 to 7 million people per year and particularly effects (and can be deadly) to infants and children under the age of 5.

Causes Of Gastroenteritis

The main cause of influenza is improperly prepared or improperly reheated food. Contaminated water is also a main cause of infection, especially in poorer third world nations.

Symptoms

The symptoms of gastroenteritis (stomach flu) include diarrhea, vomiting, loss of appetite, stomach pains, fever, bloody stools and general weakness. The vomiting is often so severe that bile can be vomited up after all the contents of the stomach is released. Those effected with gastroenteritis often feel the ‘worst they have ever felt’ and it can be quite a traumatic and difficult experience.

The main symptoms usually die off within 2 days, but full recovery and the return of appetite usually takes at least 6 to 8 days.

Treatment

The treatment of gastro usually involves bed rest and the returning of fluids to the body. The lack of fluids can be very dangerous and lead to symptoms such as cramps, headaches and can even result in death. Most people who suffer gastro will become dehydrated to a certain point, so electrolytes may need to be added to return the body’s fluid levels to normal. In severe cases, re-hydration may need to be administered through an intravenous drip. Other items such as probiotics and yoghurt have been shown to help speed up the recovery process.

Drugs & Medication

Drugs to stop diarrhea are often not encouraged as these can prevent the toxins and bacteria from being flushed from the body. If drugs to stop diarrhea are to be used, they should be administered after the cessation of any fever when it is believed all toxins have been flushed from the body.

Hospital

In severe gastroenteritis cases, the individual effected may require hospital assistance. If you have an infant, someone elderly or someone severely sick, it is often advisable to take them straight to the hospital if they are showing gastroenteritis symptoms.

Personal Experience

On a personal note, from my experience, gastroenteritis is a horrible experience. Severe vomiting and diarrhea usually lasts for about 12 hours, followed by less frequent attacks. During the first few hours, it is often impossible to even keep down any fluids that have been administered. However, as soon as possible, fluids should be administered to prevent dehydration. During the first few hours, i felt like i just wanted to die. The experience really made me more careful with my food choices, and made me take more care when reheating food. If there was one thing i learned from having gastroenteritis, it’s that i never want to experience it again!

More great gastroenteritis tips and advice is available at our site. Please visit us for more information on anything from pregnancy tips to diseases and much more.

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