Stomach Issues Have You Feeling Uneasy?
Stomach issues are never fun to deal with. They leave you feeling uneasy and hoping for reprieve. Figuring out what the cause of discomfort in your stomach is key to developing the best plan of attack to remedy your situation. In this blog we are going to discuss the common signs and symptoms of gastroenteritis, which is commonly referred to as the stomach flu.
Gastroenteritis is an inflamed stomach or intestinal lining caused by a virus, bacteria, or parasite. Viral gastroenteritis is highly transmissible, spreads quickly and can cause diarrhea and vomiting. Bacterial gastroenteritis, more commonly known as food poisoning, is not contagious, but has the same symptoms. We’ve broken down the main differences between the two in our blog article titled ‘Food Poisoning or the Stomach Flu?’ since the two closely mirror each other.
The National Institutes of Health note that many different viruses can cause gastroenteritis, but there are four viruses that are often to blame. The norovirus is the most common type that generally affects adults; symptoms begin 12 to 48 hours after you have come intact with the virus and symptoms can last up to one to three days. Other common viruses that cause gastroenteritis are the rotavirus, the adenovirus and the astrovirus. The norovirus causes infection in people of all ages, but young children are often impacted the most by the rotavirus, adenovirus and astrovirus.
Viral Gastroenteritis Or Bacterial Gastroenteritis
Whether it’s viral gastroenteritis or bacterial gastroenteritis, the symptoms are typically the same. The two main ones are diarrhea and vomiting. Stomach pain, cramping, fever, nausea and headaches can accompany the stomach bug too. It’s especially important to keep a close eye on young children and the elderly with symptoms such as these because they can easily get dehydrated; their bodies can’t replenish fluids quick enough to function normally.
Most cases of gastroenteritis resolve on their own, but when should you call a doctor? Seek professional medical help when vomiting lasts for more than a day or diarrhea and a fever lasts more than two days. If you or your child’s stools are black and contain visible blood, that necessitates a call to the doctor as well. Some particular signs to look for in severe hydration are dry mouth, fast or irregular heartbeat or dizziness.
The viral forms of gastroenteritis can spread quickly at daycares and retirement homes. Close contacts, contaminated surfaces, and at times, contaminated food can lead to the transmission of gastroenteritis. Carriers of the virus are most contagious from the time their symptoms arrive until 48 hours after they are back to normal.
One step of prevention for infants can be the rotavirus vaccine that Ochsner offers. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that about 90% of children who receive the rotavirus vaccine will be protected from severe rotavirus disease. To view a list of all infant vaccine that Ochsner provides, visit Ochsner.org.
A couple of options to try and contain the virus are to ensure the washing of your hands thoroughly with soap and water and to avoid close contact. Infected surfaces can pass the virus as well so it’s important to try and sterilize counters, utensils, doorknobs and the toilet to prevent transmission. It’s also recommended to wash items of clothing, bed sheets or towels that might have been used to clean up or sterilize vomit or surfaces.
Bouts with gastroenteritis can take a lot out of you. Unfortunately, there is no treatment for gastroenteritis; you have to just let it run its course. It is important, if your body allows, to try and drink as many fluids as possible to replenish your body. Food can be hard to keep down as well; it’s best to try and start with mild foods such as rice or bananas. Start with smaller portion sizes of food, and then as your stomach allows, you can increase portion size. Some foods to avoid would be anything with lots of fat and sugar in it; dairy products such as cheese and milk can make your stomach feel uneasy as well.
Are you having stomach issues? If so, learn more about Dr. Hrishikesh Samant and how he can help.