Gastroenteritis, commonly known as "gastro", is a type of infection/inflammation that affects the human digestive system.
A number of germs can cause gastroenteritis. They include:
Viruses, especially those relating to norovirus, rotavirus, and hepatitis A.
Bacteria such as the Salmonella, Campylobacter, and Shigella.
Parasites like the Giardia as well as Cryptosporidium can also cause gastroenteritis.
Toxins produced by certain foods such as Staphylococcus aureus and Clostridium difficile.
How is gastroenteritis spread?
Gastroenteritis causing bacteria is found in poorly cooked food, contaminated water, soil, humans, and certain animals such as pets, farm animals, and wild animals.
Gastroenteritis can be passed via oral route. You can get the bacteria by:
Taking and drinking something that has been contaminated with germs, bacteria, or toxins.
Getting in contact with stool and vomit of an ill person.
Handling certain animals and pets.
Taking poisoned food.
What are the signs and symptoms of gastroenteritis?
The following are common signs and symptoms of gastroenteritis:
Severe diarrhea that can contain blood
Severe or mild stomach pain or cramps
How will you know if you are having gastroenteritis?
Diarrhea and vomiting are the biggest signs of gastroenteritis. However, laboratories test on your faecal specimen will confirm if you have the bacteria or not.
Gastroenteritis: The Treatment Options
You doctor will first try to determine the germ that causes the gastroenteritis before recommending ay treatment option. However, the following are universal treatment options for people suffering from gastroenteritis:
Drinking plenty of fluids like plain water and oral rehydration drinks that can be obtained from pharmacies.
Avoid anti-vomiting and anti-diarrheal medications unless recommended by your doctor.
Immediately visit your doctor if the symptoms are severe.
Tips for Living with Gastroenteritis
Never go to work or school for at least twenty-four hours after being diagnosed.
Always wash your hands after visiting the toilet.
Do not prepare or handle food until the symptoms have resolved.
Always wash your clothes if they have been contaminated with vomit or diarrhea with hot water and a detergent.
Always clean all contaminated surfaces after vomiting or an episode of diarrhea.
clean carpet or soft furnishings contaminated with diarrhea or vomit using detergent and clean hot water.
Always wash your hands after handling nappies.
Avoid raw foods like meat, poultry, as well as eggs.
Always cook your food to a temperature of 75 °C.
How to Prevent Gastroenteritis
If you are traveling to developing countries such as those in Asia, Africa, the Pacific Islands, the Middle East, and South America, you are advised to avoid doing the following:
Taking raw and cold seafood such as shellfish
Eating raw and runny eggs
Taking cold meat
Drinking unpasteurized milk as well as dairy products like ice cream
Fruits that have been peeled
Drinking unbottled water
Gastroenteritis is just a condition. It can be avoided. However, there is medication if you have been diagnosed with it. With proper management and treatment, you can get over it. However, if the symptoms persist and become severe, it is advisable to see your doctor as soon as possible.