Viral gastroenteritis (stomach flu) | Common disease


alopah Date:2021-09-23 15:56:24 From:mayoclinic
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Overview

Viral gastroenteritis is an intestinal infection marked by watery diarrhea, abdominal cramps, nausea or vomiting, and sometimes fever.

 

The most common way to develop viral gastroenteritis — often called stomach flu —is through contact with an infected person or by ingesting contaminated food or water. If you’re otherwise healthy, you’ll likely recover without complications. But for infants, older adults and people with compromised immune systems, viral gastroenteritis can be deadly.

 

There’s no effective treatment for viral gastroenteritis, so prevention is key. In addition to avoiding food and water that may be contaminated, thorough and frequent hand-washings are your best defense.

 

Symptoms

Although it’s commonly called stomach flu, gastroenteritis isn’t the same as influenza. Real flu (influenza) affects only your respiratory system — your nose, throat and lungs. Gastroenteritis, on the other hand, attacks your intestines, causing signs and symptoms, such as:

 

Watery, usually nonbloody diarrhea — bloody diarrhea usually means you have a different, more severe infection

Abdominal cramps and pain

Nausea, vomiting or both

Occasional muscle aches or headache

Low-grade fever

 

Viral gastroenteritis

 

Depending on the cause, viral gastroenteritis symptoms may appear within one to three days after you’re infected and can range from mild to severe. Symptoms usually last just a day or two, but occasionally they may persist as long as 10 days.

 

Because the symptoms are similar, it’s easy to confuse viral diarrhea with diarrhea caused by bacteria, such as Clostridium difficile, salmonella and E. coli, or parasites, such as giardia.

 

When to see a doctor

If you’re an adult, call your doctor if:

You’re not able to keep liquids down for 24 hours

You’ve been vomiting for more than two days

You’re vomiting blood

You’re dehydrated — signs of dehydration include excessive thirst, dry mouth, deep yellow urine or little or no urine, and severe weakness, dizziness or lightheadedness

You notice blood in your bowel movements

You have a fever above 104 F (40 C)

 

For infants and children

See your doctor right away if your child:

Has a fever of 102 F (38.9 C) or higher

Seems lethargic or very irritable

Is in a lot of discomfort or pain

Has bloody diarrhea

Seems dehydrated — watch for signs of dehydration in sick infants and children by comparing how much they drink and urinate with how much is normal for them

 

If you have an infant, remember that while spitting up may be an everyday occurrence for your baby, vomiting is not. Babies vomit for a variety of reasons, many of which may require medical attention.Call your baby’s doctor right away if your baby:

 

Has vomiting that lasts more than several hours

Hasn’t had a wet diaper in six hours

Has bloody stools or severe diarrhea

Has a sunken soft spot (fontanel)on the top of his or her head

Has a dry mouth or cries without tears

Is unusually sleepy, drowsy or unresponsive.

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