Gastroenteritis is a common condition encountered by almost everyone. Despite it being common there is a widespread lack of awareness regarding its common causes and especially regarding its treatment. This article is aimed at giving general public better understanding of this condition and its treatment.
Gastroenteritis, commonly called the tummy flu or upset stomach is basically inflammation of the gut. It is a disease most commonly caused by viruses but can also be caused by some bacteria and rarely by parasites, antibiotics and other medications.
Common viruses that cause gastroenteritis are rotavirus and norovirus. Most common bacteria that cause this disease are E.coli, Staphylococcus, Salmonella, Bacillus and Enterococci.
Regardless of the cause, the symptoms are the same.
Signs of Dehydration:
The most serious consequence of gastroenteritis is dehydration caused by large amount of fluid loss during diarrhea and vomiting. This can be particularly dangerous and even fatal in young children. In fact gastroenteritis is one of the leading causes of death among children under 5 years of age in developing countries. The most common reason is severe dehydration and failure of timely re-hydration therapy.
Watch out for signs of dehydration which include extreme thirst, loss of skin turgor, dry mouth, lips and eyes, lethargy, dizziness and decreased urine.
Treatment for Gastroenteritis:
Treatment of gastroenteritis is aimed at prevention of dehydration. As mentioned above, the most common cause is viral infection and so antibiotics will not work in such cases. Plenty of oral fluid in take is at the heart of the therapy. Oral rehydration solutions (ORS) which are available over the counter must be consumed to replace electrolytes and minerals. Fruit juices and sports drinks are also helpful. Viral infections mostly resolve on their own within 3-5 days. If however the illness lasts longer and is associated with high grade fever, blood in stools, or severe dehydration then immediate medical attention must be sought. Bacterial or parasitic infections may require antibiotic/antihelminthic therapy. Severe dehydration may require admission and intravenous fluid replacement.
Prevention of Gastroenteritis
Gastroenteritis can be prevented by taking the following measures:
Consult a Medical Gastro online for more information regarding tummy flu --> https://www.icliniq.com/ask-a-doctor-online/medical-gastroenterologist
Last reviewed at:
07 Sep 2018 - 2 min read
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