Gastroenteritis: what it is, how it is spread, symptoms and what to eat
If there is a very common digestive pathology, which affects millions of people around the world every year, the stomach flu it is without a doubt among the first. It is medically known also with the names of stomach flu or just like Viral gastroenteritis.
According to recently exposed data, in Spain it occupies one of the first positions - especially in children -, being the most prone to take this type of diseases. This disease is spread through food in poor condition, contaminated water or the contact of an infected person.
What is gastroenteritis or viral gastroenteritis?
Gastroenteritis consists of swelling or inflammation of both the stomach and intestines due to a virus. It is one of the most common causes of diarrhea Y vomiting, reason why it is also popularly known by the name of stomach flu.
I mean, it's a Gastrointestinal infection which causes inflammation of the intestinal tract, mainly due to an infection. Although the truth is that it is not a unique cause, since it can also be produced by eating food in poor condition, or even by stress and nervous tension.
However, a number of major viruses causing gastrointestinal infections have been identified. They are the following: norovirus, rotavirus, astrovirus, coronavirus and adenovirus.
Main symptoms of gastroenteritis
The symptoms of gastroenteritis appear between 4 to 48 hours after coming into contact with the virus, so that it can happen up to two days until the moment in which the symptoms appear.
There are a series of common symptoms, among which we can highlight especially the following:
- Loss of appetite and fatigue.
- Abdominal pain.
- Nausea and vomiting.
In addition, there are also other related symptoms, such as:
- Swelling sensation
- Chills and sweating
- Muscle pain.
Typically, these symptoms disappear within a maximum period of 3 days and thus show an improvement of this frequent disease.
How viral gastroenteritis is spread
The main cause is the spread of gastroenteritis from one person to another, especially through what is medically known as contact infection, especially through the hands. In this sense, pathogens tend to pass first into the mouth of another person, until they reach their stomach and intestine.
These pathogens are eliminated by vomiting and the patient's stools, passing to the environment, for example in objects, utensils and surfaces. It can also be transmitted to other people through small droplets with viral content.
Treatment of gastroenteritis
It is essential to ensure that the body has enough water and fluids, because both diarrhea and vomiting can lose a high amount of fluids and electrolytes. So, the administration of additional fluids is very important.
It is advisable to use electrolyte and liquid replacement solutions in older children and adults, taking small amounts of fluid every 30 or 60 minutes.
There is no specific treatment for gastroenteritis, since the infection will disappear as the body is able to fight the virus that caused it, and it recovers. However, depending on whether you have a high amount of diarrhea or vomiting, and you are unable to retain liquids or consume them, you may need to administer intravenous fluids.
How to cut gastroenteritis? It's appropriate?
Unlike what we think, when we are sick in the stomach - or something has been wrong with us - we could say that the diarrhea is positive because it helps us to eliminate the virus or what has been wrong. Therefore it is not so appropriate to cut the diarrhea, as long as it does not become serious and is dangerous for the person because it is causing dehydration.
The diarrheic process is, therefore, a defense or cleansing mechanism of our organism, which helps the elimination of our digestive tract from the different microorganisms, toxins or viruses that have caused gastroenteritis.
For this reason it is not appropriate to cut gastroenteritis, since in reality the antidiarrheals do not tend to help. The most appropriate is to maintain adequate hydration, seek a certain "rest" of the digestive tract maintaining a soft and soft diet, and have patience. The process of gastroenteritis will end up being cured in a few days.
How long a gastroenteritis lasts and when its symptoms begin
Depending on the severity of the condition, the duration of gastroenteritis may vary a bit. In fact, it will also depend on whether we are facing mild or severe gastroenteritis, whose duration will obviously increase much more.
In any case, normally Gastroenteritis lasts between 1 to 3 days, which is the time when our body is "able" to fight against the infection and expel the virus. But nevertheless, It can take up to 2 weeks for our bowel habits to return to normal.
On the other hand, since a healthy person has contact with the virus until symptoms begin, they can go from hours to 3 days.
What eat when you have stomach flu
When we are sick with gastroenteritis we must pay special attention to the diet that we must maintain for a few days, especially during the first days when symptoms and discomfort begin to appear.
Basically, from a dietary point of view, you should keep in mind the following basic recommendations:
- Liquid diet: it is recommended to drink a lot of fluids, which will help eliminate germs from the body and prevent and avoid dehydration. They emphasize the digestive infusions, the juices of fruit without pulp, the isotonic drinks and the water with lemon.
- Yogurt with bifidobacteria: ideal when diarrhea or vomiting has stopped. It is advisable to consume them during the first 12-24 hours.
- Astringent diet without fiber: especially when the evolution is favorable, after the break of digestive rest. Toasted bread or biscuits, rice cakes, cooked white rice, potato and carrot, boiled ham, grilled or boiled chicken breast and white fish (such as rooster, hake or perch) are recommended.
In addition, those foods and simple recipes that do not overload the stomach are recommended. They emphasize, therefore, the following recipes or dishes:
- Rice broths
- Lentil or carrot soup.
- Fresh fruit juices.
- Soothing infusions of chamomile and anise.
- Decoction of ginger.
On the one hand, rice broth and lentil or carrot soup provide interesting soothing properties in case of gastroenteritis, while fruit juices provide fluids, vitamins and minerals that the body has been able to lose with diarrhea or vomiting.
On the other hand, both infusions of chamomile and anise provide soothing benefits, while the decoction of ginger helps reduce nausea and vomiting.
What foods should we avoid when we have gastroenteritis?
There are also other foods and beverages whose consumption is not recommended at all when we are sick with gastroenteritis. They are the following:
- Acidic foods
- Dairy products.
In short, we do not recommend the consumption of any food or drink that may affect our stomach even more, always opting for soft and easily digested foods.
Some useful natural remedies
The procedure to follow in the healing of the stomach flu it is above all to eat healthy foods such as rice broths, lentil or carrot soups, fresh fruit juices and infusions of anise or chamomile.
Of course in every disease there are foods that help our improvement but there are others that aggravate our state of health.
Soothing infusions, good for the digestive system, such as:
- Infusion of anise:It is a natural drink with digestive qualities. But in addition to being made with a digestive medicinal plant, it also helps to calm the stomach, relieving spasms and cramps that we may suffer with gastroenteritis.
- Chamomile infusion:In addition to being a digestive infusion, it is also soothing and relaxing, so it also helps us to alleviate the pains we usually suffer in the stomach and abdomen when we are sick with gastroenteritis.
What is bacterial gastroenteritis?
Besides the viral gastroenteritis, which ultimately becomes one of the most common and common (ie, usually caused by a virus), we must also mention the existence of the bacterial gastroenteritis. As its name suggests, it is a bacterial infection; that is, it appears when Bacteria are the cause of infection of the intestines or stomach.
It is also known by the name of food poisoning, which means that its main cause is the consumption of contaminated food, so that the microorganisms enter the digestive system of the person after having ingested the food.
The main causes of bacterial gastroenteritis
Thus, bacterial gastroenteritis can occur due to:
- Consume foods prepared by people who have not washed their hands properly, or are made with utensils that are not clean.
- Consume frozen or refrigerated food that has not been stored correctly (for example, at the right temperature).
- Eat fish and other raw, or raw fruits and vegetables that have not been properly washed.
- Eggs or meats badly cooked.
- Drink dairy products that have been left out of the fridge for a long time.
- Eat foods with mayonnaise that have been out of the fridge for a long time.
In addition, there is a wide variety of bacteria that can cause bacterial gastroenteritis infection. The most common are: E coli, Campylobacter jejuni, Salmonella, Shigella, Yersinia and Staphylococcus.
How bacterial gastroenteritis is treated
It is essential to drink enough fluids and rest. In case of having a lot of diarrhea or not being able to drink liquids (for example nausea or vomiting), intravenous fluids will be necessary.
In fact, although it is usual not to need antibiotics because it is likely that the most common types of bacterial gastroenteritis recover in a couple of days, when the diarrhea is intense and the immune system is weak, antibiotics could be prescribed. This article is published for informational purposes only. It can not and should not replace the consultation with a Physician. We advise you to consult your Trusted Doctor. ThemesGastrointestinal disorders