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The Stomach flu or the viral gastroenteritis is an internal infection that is known for the following: abdominal cramps, vomiting, nausea, watery diarrhea, and sometimes fever.
The most prevalent way to develop viral gastroenteritis is through contact wth someone else who is infected with the stomach flu, or by ingesting food or water that is contaminated. If you are healthy, you will likely recover without any significant problems. However, for older adults, infants or people with compromised immune systems, viral gastroenteritis can be fatal.
There is no effective treatment for viral gastroenteritis, so the best way to stop it is through prevention. In addition to bypassing food and water that can be contaminated, you should wash your hands thoroughly and frequently to defend yourself against stomach flu.
Stomach Flu Symptoms
Although viral gastroenteritis is most commonly referred to as the stomach flu, however, it is not the same as influenza. The flu or influenza affects only your respiratory steam, your throat, nose and lungs, Gastroenteritis, however, can attack your intestines causing symptoms and signs such as:
- Low-grade fever
- Occasional headaches and muscles ache
- Abdominal cramp and pain
- Vomiting and Nausea or both
- Watery, usually bloody diarrhea, bloody diarrhea usually means you have a different, more severe infection.
Viral gastroenteritis symptoms may appear within one to three days after you become infected and symptoms can vary from mild to severe based on the cause. Symptoms normally just last a day or two, however, they can persist as long as ten days.
Because the symptoms can be the same, it is easy to confuse diarrhea caused by bacteria such as Clostridium difficult, E.coli, parasites, or salmonella or viral diarrhea.
When should you see your doctor –
If you are an adult, call your doctor if:
- You are vomiting blood
- You have a fever above 104 F (40 C)
- You see blood in your bowel movements
- You are not able to keep liquids down for 24 hours
- You have been for more than two days
- You are dehydrated, signs of dehydration incorporate excessive thirst, deep yellow urine or no urine, dizziness, lightheadedness or severe weakness.
For infants and children
- You should consult your physician if your child:
- Has a fever of 102 F 38.9C or higher
- Is in a lot of pain or discomfort
- Has diarrhea that is bloody
- Dehydrated – watch for symptoms of dehydration in ill infants and children by evaluating how much
- they drink and urinate with how much is natural for them
If you have an infant, remember that while spitting up may be an everyday occurrence for your baby, vomiting is not. Children vomit for a myriad of reasons, many of which may require medical study.
- Call your baby’s physician right away if your baby:
- Has to vomit that last more than several hours
- Seems lethargic or very irritable.
- Has Blood stools or severe diarrhea
- Has dry mouth without tears
- Is very sleepy, drowsy or unresponsive
- Has a socket fontanel or soft spot on top of his or her head
- Has not had a wet diaper in sexy hours
Causes of Viral Gastroenteritis
The most likely causes of viral gastroenteritis when you eat or drink contained food or water, or if you share cups or utensils, drinks food or towels with someone who is infected.
Some viruses can cause gastroenteritis including:
- Noroviruses. Affects both children and adults are a common cause of foodborne illnesses across the world. Norovirus infection can attack families and communities, and individually spread among people in limited spaces in most cases, you pick up the virus from contaminated food or water, although person transmission also is possible.
- Rotavirus – across the world, this is the most common cause of viral gastroenteritis in a child, it can cause high levels of infection because they can put their hands and fingers in areas that are contaminated with the virus into their mouths. The disease is most severe in fats and young children. Adults infected with rotavirus may not exhibit symptoms., yet still, can spread the illness, this is much more concern in institutional settings because infected adults unknowingly can pass the virus to others. A vaccine against viral gastroenteritis is accessible in several countries, including the United States and appears to be effective in preventing the infection,
Shellfish specifically, undercooked oysters or raw fish can make you sick, While contaminated drinking water is a reason for viral diarrhea, in many cases the virus is passed through the fecal-oral route- that is someone with a virus touches and handles food you eat without cleaning his or her hands after using the restroom.
Risk Factors of Viral Gastroenteritis
Gastroenteritis happens all over the world and affects people of every race, ethnicity, and background.
People who may be more susceptible to gastroenteritis include:
- Young children – Children in child care centers or elementary schools are much more vulnerable because of the close spaces and due to the fact their immune systems are not yet mature to defend itself from the virus.
- Older adults – adult immune systems tend to become less efficient later in life. Older adults in nursing homes, in particular, are vulnerable because their immune systems weaken and they live in close contact with other who may pass along germs.
- Schoolchildren, churchgoers or dormitory residents – Anywhere that groups of people come together in close areas, and rooms can be an environment for an intestinal infection get passed.
- Anyone with a weakened immune system – If your resistance to infection is low – for instance, if your immune system is comprised by HIV/AIDs, chemotherapy or another medical condition – you may be especially at risk.
Each gastrointestinal virus has a season when it is most active f you live in the Northern hemisphere, for instance, you are more likely to have norovirus or rotavirus infections between October and April.
The main complications of viral gastroenteritis are dehydration – a severe loss of water and essential salts and minerals, If you are health and drink adequate levels of liquid to replace fluids you lose from diarrhea, vomiting and dehydration should not be a problem.
Infants older adults and people with suppressed immune systems can become extremely dehydrated when they lose fluids tan they can replace. Hepatization might be needed so that lost fluids can be replaced intravenously Dehydration can be fatal, but really.
Test and Diagnosis
Your physician will most likely diagnose gastroenteritis based on symptoms that ae obvious, a physical exam and sometimes on the appearances f other cases in your community would indicate that the stomach flu is going around. A rapid stool test can detect either the norovirus or the rotavirus. However, there are no quick to for other viruses that cause gastroenteritis. In some cases, the doctor may have you submit a stool sample to rule out a possible bacterial or parasitic infection,
Treatments and drugs, There’s frequently no specific medical treatment for viral gastroenteritis, Antibiotics are not effective against viruses and overuse of antibiotics can cause antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria. Treatment initially consists of self- care measures.
- When you have the stomach flu, the best thing you can do is prevent dehydration, while your recover
Let your stomach settle. Stop eating solid foods for a few hours.
- Try sucking on ice chips or taking small sips of water – You might also try drinking clear soda, clear broths or non-caffeinated sports drinks. Drink plenty or liquid every day taking small, frequent sips.
Ease back into eating, Gradually begin to eat bland or easy to digest food. Soda cracker, toast gelatin bananas rice and chicken. Stop eating if your nausea returns.
- Avoid certain foods and substances until you feel better – These include dairy products, caffeine alcohol nicotine, and fatty or highly seasoned foods.
- Get plenty of rest. The illness and dehydration may have made you weak and tired.
- Be cautious with medications. Use many drugs such as ibuprofen (Advil, Mortin Ib, others, ) rarely if at all. They can make your stomach more upset. Use amphetamines (Tylenol, others) cautiously. It sometimes can cause liver toxicity, specifically in children. Do not give aspirin to teens or children because of the risk of Reye’s syndrome, though rare tit potentially fat dishes. Before giving your child pain relief or fever reduction medication you should discuss with your child’s pediatrician.
For Infants and children
When your child has an initial infection, you should make sure that you replace his or her fluids and salts. These may suggest may help.
- Help your child rehydrate Give your child oral rehydration solution; these are available in pharmacies without the need for a prescription. You should discuss with your doctor if you have questions. Do give you your child plan water 0 in children with gastroenteritis, water is not absorbed well and won’t adequately replace lost electrolytes. Avoid giving your child apple juice as it worsens diarrhea.
- Get your child back to normal diet slowly. Introduce bland foods, such as rice, toast, and potatoes.
- Avoid Certain foods, such as ice cream, candy soda, which can worsen diarrhea.
- Make sure your child get plenty of or rest, Stomach flu and dehydration may have made your child weak and tired.
- Do not give your child over-the-counter antidiarrheal medications, unless it is advised by your doctor. It may make it more difficult for your child to eliminate the virus.
If you have a sick infants, let your baby’s stomach rest for 15 to 20 minutes after diarrhea or vomiting then offer small quantities of liquids. If your child is breastfed, let your child nurse. If your child is bottle-fed, provide small amounts of oral rehydration solution or regular formula.
How to Prevent Diseases and Conditions
Viral gastroenteritis (stomach flu)
- Get your child vaccinated an against gastroenteritis caused by the rotavirus is available in some countries including the United States. This is normally given in the first years of life, as the vaccine appears to be effective in preventing severe symptoms of this illness.
- Wash your hands often and thoroughly, make sure your children do as well. Do this especially after using the bathroom, rub your hands with soap at least 20 seconds and hot water. Rinse thoroughly,
- Carry hand sanitizer and towels for a time when there is no soap and water.
- Use separate personal items in the homes, to not cross contaminate.
- Keep your distance from people with the illness.
- Disinfect hard surfaces. Counters, faucets, and doorknobs. Uses a mixture of bleach (two cups ) and water ( a gallon)
- Check out the cleanliness of your child care center. The diaper- changing table should have a sink as well as a sanitary way of disposing diapers.
Precautions when traveling
- Avoid raw foods, peeled fruits, raw vegetables, salads, that have touched by human hands,
- Avoid undercooked fish and meat,
- Brush your teeth with bottled water,
- Avoid ice cubes, which may form contaminated water.
- Drink water that is carbonated or from a well-sealed bottle