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Gastroenteritis

Introduction:

Inflammation of the stomach and intestine that leads to diarrhea is gastroenteritis.

Sometimes the inflammation clears up without any intervention. But dehydration may occur if vomiting and diarrhea is excessive. Potential dehydration can lead to serious problems in the elderly and young children.

Symptoms:

The most common symptoms are: fever, pain in the abdomen region, vomiting and diarrhea. 

The major concern is dehydration from the loss of fluid. Symptoms of dehydration include a dry mouth, dry skin, a decrease in urine output, sunken eyes and mental confusion. 

Causes:

The main cause of gastroenteritis is by viruses especially from food such as infected shellfish.

Escherichia Coli (E. coli), Giardia lamblia and Salmonella infected food can also cause gastroenteritis. Food may become infected if poor hygiene or cross contamination occurs during food preparation or by contaminated water. 

Gastroenteritis usually occurs in people who are traveling abroad especially to third world countries. Drinking filtered and boiled water and eating cooked food (as opposed to uncooked salads) may help in prevention.

Treatment:

Loss of fluid is the major concern. Drinking lots of fluid is helpful if you are not vomiting helps. If vomiting occurs, consult your doctor. 

For young children or babies, diluting their food allows more water to be ingested. Medication for diarrhea should only be taken under the care of a physician.

Antibiotics cannot be of help because gastroenteritis is cause by a virus. Viruses are not killed by antibiotics. 

 

 

 

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