Gastroenteritis

Various types of infections caused by virus, bacteria, or parasites can result in irritation of the digestive tract. In medical terms, this condition is known as Gastroenteritis. Consuming contaminated food and water or coming into close contact with the affected people are two major reasons for spreading the microbes that cause gastroenteritis. In the majority of cases, a viral/bacterial infection is the cause of the spread of gastroenteritis. However, in some cases, the disease could also be spread via parasitic infection.

- When certain specific types of bacteria attack your gut and cause the infection, it is termed Bacterial Gastroenteritis. As a result, your intestine and stomach can experience inflammation. Various symptoms of bacteria gastric are abdominal cramps with severity, and vomiting.

- Another cause of Gastroenteritis infections are viruses but it is less common. This condition can also be termed as food poisoning.

Causes of bacterial gastroenteritis

There are several reasons for Bacterial Gastroenteritis. Apart from close contact with animals, the intake of contaminated water or food having harmful bacteria is the other common cause of bacterial Gastroenteritis. Gastroenteritis can be caused by various types of bacteria that include but are not limited to:

- E. coli, (Major Source: salads and ground beef)

- Yersinia (Major Source: pork)

- Campylobacter (Major Source: poultry and meat)

- Shigella (Major Source: swimming pools)

- Staphylococcus (Major Source: dairy products, eggs, and meat)

- salmonella, (Major Source: meat, eggs  and dairy products)

- Sometimes the food joints or eateries can offer contaminated food to their guests. If such food is served to a large number of people it can result in an outbreak. Likewise, there could be some other ways in which the bacteria can be transmitted to a larger part of the population.

- It also happens when you carry the bacteria on your hands and touches your biological gateways like eyes, nose or any other part that can allow the bacteria to get into your system.

- Likewise, if you touch an object with that hand the bacteria can be transferred to that object and eventually spread to other people who touch or come into contact with that object.

- People who live in crowded areas and often come into contact with many people, travel extensively especially using public transport and don’t follow proper hygiene are more prone to be affected by gastroenteritis.

Symptoms of Gastroenteritis

There are several symptoms that can help in identifying the disease and take the timely action before it is too late. Here are some of such symptoms. A number of symptoms are similar in adults as well as children. However, a distinct difference in small children is the dry diaper. If you haven’t been required to change the child’s diaper for at least 6 hours it indicates the possible presence of the condition. Other symptoms include vomiting and fever.

The symptoms largely depend upon the type of bacteria that is responsible for causing the bacterial gas. The general symptoms include:

- Diarrhoea

- Feeling of nausea

- Lack of appetite

- Fever

- Vomiting

- Bloody stools

Treatment of Gastroenteritis

Timely treatment is recommended in order to ensure that the condition should not be aggravated. Depending on the cause, severity, and age of the patient, there are several preventive methods that can be adopted. Here are a few of them:

- If you constantly notice these symptoms for 5 days without improvement, then it is the right time to see a doctor.

- For children, the ideal time after which you should think about seeing a doctor is 2 days without improvement.

- Likewise, for a child that is older than 3 months constantly having sessions of vomiting for a continuous period of 12 hours, it is the time to call a doctor .

- Infant aged less than 3 months who suffers from diarrhoea requires an immediate medical attention without delay.

- You need to keep yourself hydrated adequately to make sure that the body should not lose the vital salts like potassium and sodium that help it in functioning in the normal manner.

- Hospitalization is also recommended in the severe cases in which loss of too many salts and fluids has happened. Such patients are adequately treated by giving the repeated dosage of salts and fluids on an occasional basis. If the case is more severe the patient might also be given the antibiotics.

- However, it is recommendable not to leave any of such case untreated as it could result in more severe complications especially in younger children and older adults.

It is also possible to treat the mild cases of gastroenteritis at home using the right type of home remedies. However such remedies generally are ineffective for the severe cases that need immediate medication.

Some home remedies include:

- Frequently taking fluids in the entire day to overcome the effects of diarrhoea.

- Instead of eating large portions 2-3 times, you can eat in small quantities multiple times in a day

- Include a good amount of foods that contain salt

- As you consume the foods combine them with some good source of potassium like bananas or fruit juices

- Consult your doctor before taking any type of medication

- Certain foods can help restore the electrolytes. eating such foods and play a vital role in treating your diarrhoea. Consuming ginger is also a proven way of fighting the infection. It can also provide significant relaxation in the abdominal pain.

- Other notable foods that can prove to be soothing to your stomach are basil and cider. These two foods are also known for warding off any kind of future infections by fortifying your stomach.

- Certain foods can worsen the diarrhoea. The major examples include the foods having a higher level of fibre like dairy foods and fruits. Eliminating such foods from your diet can also help you recover fast.

Medicines

There are some types of medicines which have a specific chemical composition that can work directly on the cause of the disease (specific bacteria, virus etc.)  and help in relieving the existing symptoms. Apart from prescribed medicines, there are some over the counter medicines that can be administered to get rid of this disease.

- There are several types of generic medicines that don’t require any prescription and are easily available at any chemists’ shop. These medicines have the right type of chemicals and composition that can relieve such infections by balancing the stomach acid.

- There are other medicines capable of treating nausea, abdominal pains, and diarrhoea. Administering such medicines can help in this condition

Preventing gastroenteritis

By taking some precautionary measures and adopting hygienic habits, it is possible to prevent gastroenteritis.

Here are a few preventive measures that can be taken to avoid Gastroenteritis:

- It is advisable to wash your hands with sanitizers in order to prevent yourself from this disease.

- Patients suffering from gastroenteritis need to take the precautionary measures so that the bacteria should not spread to other people.

- As these bacteria can be transmitted via touch, it is advisable not to consume the food prepared by the affected person

- Likewise, any type of close contact with the people should also be avoided before the patient fully recovers

- It’s best not to attend your job until you recover. It is even better to wait for another 2 days after the full recovery before you resume the work.

- There are specific foods that are more prone to transmit the bacteria responsible for gastroenteritis. Such foods include raw meat, raw fish (especially shellfish) and unpasteurized milk. Likewise one needs to follow the best storage conditions in order to ensure that the food should not attract bacterial growth.

- Storing food at very high or very low temperature discourages the growth of bacteria and significantly reduces the probability of the food attracting any harmful bacteria that can cause gastroenteritis.

There are some more prevention methods that can help in keeping the person safe from these bacteria that includes:

- Following standard best hygiene and cleaning guideline for your kitchen

- Properly washing your hands before eating or you handling any food or after using the toilet

- Washing your hands thoroughly after touching animals.

- Consuming only bottled water while travelling or eating out.

- Taking the required vaccines that can protect against this disease.

- By knowing the conditions that can make you more prone to this disease can also help you take the ideal preventive measures:

- People with the feeble immune system are more prone to bacterial gastroenteritis. Likewise, certain drugs that can reduce the acids in your stomach can also make you an easy target for the disease.

- Incorrect or unhealthy handling of foods can also expose the person to a greater risk of being attacked by this disease.

- Consuming or serving undercooked food is another major factor that facilitates the spread of these bacteria.

- Other factors include serving or consuming the food that has even stored at the room temperature for a long period of time or not reheating the cooked food appropriately.

- The bacteria are also capable of toxin production that can even survive the reheating process.

Diagnosing of gastroenteritis

The doctor asks some key questions pertaining to the illness and based on the same, he determines the signs that indicate dehydration. Likewise, other causes of abdominal pain are also deeply analyzed to diagnose bacterial gastroenteritis.

Certain biological samples like blood or stool can also be required by the doctor to analyze and determine the presence of the bacteria that causes gastroenteritis.

Complications

- Occasionally, there are some complications associated with the disease that depend upon the severity of the condition, causes, and age of the patient. Here are a few complications:

- In case of healthy adults, the bacterial gastroenteritis generally doesn’t produce any complications. However, young children, as well as aged people, are exposed to higher risks and thus they need a better medical monitoring in order to detect the complication and take timely action.

- Some of the major complications associated with gastroenteritis include muscle pain, high fever, and uncontrollable bowel movements. More severe complication can result in failed kidneys anaemia and intestinal tract bleeding.

- Due to the comparatively weaker immune system, more sensitivity and specific lifestyle that might lack proper hygiene care the children are more prone to gastroenteritis as compared to the adults. The major bacteria that causes the condition in the children is Clostridium dificile. However, it is not the only bacteria that causes the infection in the children. Apart from this, there are some other types of bacteria responsible for this disease in children.

- By introducing good hygiene habits in the children and taking care of their food one can significantly reduce the probability of this disease in children. Make sure that they should wash their hands thoroughly after playing outside.

- Also train them not to put their hands in mouth or touch their ears, eyes or nose. In case of infants make sure to wash your hands immediately after you have changed their diaper.

- Thoroughly washing the food with warm water and avoiding the consumption of raw vegetables are other ways that can prevent you from this disease.

Conclusion

Gastroenteritis is a condition that is caused by specific types of bacteria. In the healthy persons, it doesn’t take more than 4-5 days to recover. It is generally spread via bacteria but sometimes the specific virus can also be the cause of this disease. Contaminated food is the major cause of spreading this disease. That is why it is very important not to be particular about the hygiene of the food before consuming. Also as it is an infectious disease, one should avoid touching their eyes, nose and other parts through which bacteria can enter into one’s body especially when in crowded places. Outbreaks of such diseases are not uncommon and the person should take proper precautions during an outbreak that includes avoiding trips to the affected regions or travelling through public transport.

Last updated on : 14-09-2018

Disclaimer : Docprime doesn’t endorse or take any guarantee of the accuracy or completeness of information provided under this article and these are the views strictly of the writer. Docprime shall not be held responsible for any aspect of healthcare services administered with the information provided on this article.

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