Symptoms of digestive upset such as abdominal cramps, loss of appetite, diarrhea and nausea can be caused by the inflammation of the intestine which is also known as gastroenteritis. Viral infections and bacterial infections are two of the usual triggers of gastroenteritis. Read on and find out how to avoid and cure gastroenteritis.
It is called viral gastroenteritis when the source of infections of your digestive tract is viral. Adenoviruses, rotaviruses and Norwalk virus are just a few of the common viral infections. The viruses are communicable and spread easily. Because it is contagious, a close contact with an infected person is enough reason to acquire the disease. People who often say in close quarters like public campgrounds, college dorms, schools, cruise ships, nursing homes and prisons are predisposed to to viral gastroenteritis. Health care professionals are at high risk of catching viral gastroenteritis.
The most common bacteria that can cause gastroenteritis include E. coli, Campylobacter jejuni, shigella and salmonella. A close encounter with an infected person is enough reason to spread the bacteria. If you happen to eat food or drink water infected with such bacteria, you are most likely to develop gastroenteritis. The symptoms can occur immediately within a few hours or it could take days before symptoms can occur.
If you experience nausea accompanied by vomiting, headache, abdominal pain and cramps, diarrhea, and low-grade fever, you better check with your doctor because these symptoms may lead to gastroenteritis. A more serious problem is when you are having bloody stools during diarrhea.
The common reason you might acquire gastroenteritis is when you have close encounter with someone who has diarrhea. The food that you ate from restaurants or social functions can also be the source. Eating food that smell or taste peculiar should also be taken into consideration. Be careful of places with poor sanitation to avoid gastroenteritis. The results of your physical examinations can help your doctor with his diagnosis but the history of your symptoms is equally important. A mild case of uncomplicated gastroenteritis can last from 1 to 7 days.
Practice Good Hygiene
One of the easiest and simplest ways to prevent gastroenteritis is to wash your hands as frequently as possible. Wash hands especially after you got out of the toilet, after you change diapers, and when you got close with someone who has diarrhea. Before you handle food or after preparation of food, make sure to wash your hands particularly when you handle raw meat. In other words, always practice good hygiene.
When travelling to places you are not familiar with, always be cautious of the food you eat and water that you drink. Mild cases of gastroenteritis in adults are easier to handle and they can be treated in just a couple of days. Avoid being dehydrated when you have gastroenteritis so drink lots of fluids which may include oral re-hydration fluids that you can buy over-the-counter, sports drinks, soft drinks and drink plenty of water among others. If you are having a hard time drinking in just a single gulp, you can drink small sips throughout the day.
Types of Food to Eat
When you have gastroenteritis, your doctor may advise you to eat certain types of foods. Once you feel better, you can go back to your usual diet gradually. You can start with soups, then soft foods like gelatin. At first you will need to stay away from milk products because the digestive tract is still sensitive to such types of foods. High-fiber foods like fruits, bran and corn are also not yet allowed for a few more days. Even over-the-counter anti-diarrhea medicines should be taken with caution. Even if you consider yourself as knowledgeable about how to avoid and cure gastroenteritis, once you feel the early symptoms, it is always better to consult with the experts so that it will not lead to more serious problems.