Encyclopedia

Gastroenteritis

What is gastroenteritis?

Gastroenteritis is a condition that causes irritation and inflammation of the organs of the gastrointestinal tract.

What are the symptoms?

The most common symptoms of gastroenteritis are:

  • Diarrhea;
  • Nausea and vomiting;
  • Clamping pain in the abdomen.

Most people call gastroenteritis the stomach flu. However, this can lead to confusion because the symptoms of the flu are:

  • Headache
  • Muscle pains and cramps
  • Other symptoms that do not affect gastrointestinal the intestinal tract.

The term stomach flu implies that the cause is a viral infection, but it is possible that there are other causes such as bacteria or parasites.

It is also possible to develop gastroenteritis when eating raw food contaminated with sewage or if the food has not undergone sufficient heat treatment during its preparation.

Most people recover quickly from gastroenteritis, with several days of vomiting and diarrhea.

But in babies and the elderly, the disease is complicated, as diarrhea and vomiting can cause severe dehydration, which in most cases is life-threatening.

That is why it is necessary in these cases to treat gastroenteritis in a timely manner and to restore the normal hydration of the body.

What are the causes?

The most common causes of gastroenteritis are viruses and bacteria. They are highly contagious and infection occurs through contact or consumption of contaminated food and water.

The virus and bacteria can also be transmitted through direct contact with an infected person, for example with insufficient hand hygiene after defecation or by touching the dirty diaper of an infected baby.

Gastroenteritis, the cause of which is a virus, usually lasts 1-2 days. But when a bacterium is the cause, the symptoms may continue to appear for a longer time.

Treatment of gastroenteritis

Treatment of gastroenteritis aimed at maintaining good hydration of the patient to avoid the risk of dehydration.

It is possible that if the patient becomes severely dehydrated, a hospital regimen of treatment and implementation of rehydration procedures will be required.

Anti-emetic and anti-diarrhea medicines are also sometimes prescribed to relieve symptoms.

To prevent dehydration, it is best to drink water, or better, water with a small amount of table salt, as the sodium in it retains water in the body.

It is necessary to drink the water with salt in small sips and often – for example one glass of water in about 5 minutes and then another glass after about 30 minutes.

This is imperative as taking a large amount of water at once will expand your stomach. It will further irritate it and you may feel nauseous or vomit accordingly.

Rehydration is much more difficult for babies and small children. You should obtain an oral rehydration solution such as

Almora plus or any others available at pharmacies. Rehydration is most effective when the solution is given little by little.

If you leave the solution bottle near the baby, because he is thirsty, he will take it and drink it very quickly and then throw up. So do the following:

  • Let him drink about 50 ml. of the liquid at once, then take the bottle away and give it to him again after 5-10 minutes.
  • If he tolerates it and doesn’t vomit, then increase the amount of water you give him drink up to 100-150 ml. Wait to see how he reacts and if he doesn’t vomit and then give him another drink.
  • If he vomits start over with 50 ml.</li >
  • Once your baby is tolerating more liquids without throwing up, you can start trying solid food, such as a piece of toast.
  • The most important thing is that in the case of gastroenteritis and dehydration, the child should be rehydrated, not necessarily caloric food.

How to protect yourself?

Gastroenteritis is an unpleasant condition that can cause significant health problems. Fortunately, there are several key steps we can take to protect ourselves from this disease.

In addition to the basic precautions you mentioned, there are a number of other factors and principles that we should incorporate into our daily regimen to strengthen our defense against gastroenteritis.

The first and most important step is to maintain a high standard of personal hygiene. This includes regular and proper hand washing with soap and warm water.

It is recommended to wash our hands not only after visiting the toilet and before eating, but also after contact with animals, after being in public places and after coughing.

Regular use of antiseptic hand gels can also be helpful when using soap and water is not possible.

It is also important to pay special attention to the way we prepare and store our food.

The cooking process must be carried out strictly following the recommended cooking temperatures and times, especially for meat, fish and eggs.

Using different kitchen surfaces for raw and ready-to-eat foods can reduce the risk of cross-contamination.

Food should be stored at appropriate temperatures and avoid leaving it at room temperature for extended periods of time, which can create conditions for the growth of pathogens.

Also, we should pay attention to the sources of water we consume.

Drinking water must be from reliable and safe sources. If there are doubts about the quality of the water, it should be boiled or subjected to another disinfection method.

Maintaining good immunity can also help prevent gastroenteritis.

Regular consumption of foods rich in vitamins and minerals can help our body fight infections more effectively.

Also, adequate fluid intake is essential to prevent dehydration, which can often occur with gastroenteritis.

In conclusion, to protect ourselves from gastroenteritis, we must combine proper personal hygiene with strict adherence to nutritional and hygiene standards.

Not a single measure, but the combined effect of all these factors can provide us with reliable protection against this unpleasant disease.

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