Gastrointestinal infection leads to episodes of diarrhea and vomiting in the affected patient. Here is some information related to gastrointestinal infection causes, symptoms and treatment. Read on, to know more about this common stomach ailment.
You travel for 8 long hours to visit your great grand-aunt on her birthday. You come back home exhausted after a tiring trip. There is something odd about this exhaustion this time. You feel really sick and feverish. You have an urgent need to move your bowels. But, you find you are passing a watery diarrhea as well as vomiting a lot. The stomach cramps are killing you and you get a shock of your life after you spot blood streaks in your watery stools. If these are the signs you observe, then it probably is a case of gastrointestinal infection.
Gastrointestinal infection usually occurs after our digestive system does not agree with what we eat or drink. It is our body’s way of fighting off the unwanted microbes that we have inadvertently ingested with our food. Also, called a stomach flu, it is a condition where the gastrointestinal tract suffers from severe inflammation. This inflammation is often due to a bacterial or viral infection.
Gastroenteritis infection is usually caused by bacterial and viral agents. The bacterial species that lead to stomach flu include Escherichia coli, Yersinia, Salmonella, Shigella, Staphylococcus, Vibrio cholerae, Campylobacter jejuni, etc. Viral agents cause viral gastroenteritis include rotavirus, adenovirus, astrovirus and norovirus. Parasites like Giardia spread through contaminated water and human contact. People drinking or swimming in contaminated water often suffer from Giardia infection. Children also suffer from Cryptosporidium infection that causes diarrhea. This is a parasitic infection that causes watery diarrhea for about 2 weeks or more in children.
Gastrointestinal infection symptoms are not very pleasant and debilitating. It causes stomach pain, cramps, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. The patient also suffers from intestinal infection symptoms like:
- Loss of appetite
- Abdominal flatulence
- Bloody stools
- Lack of sleep
The stomach ache symptoms usually last for about 2 weeks, in case of chronic diarrhea. If these symptoms do not subside in a few days or one finds blood in stools, they should seek medical help immediately.
Most of the cases of gastroenteritis tend to resolve on their own without any treatment. In most cases, the treatment involves replenishing of lost fluid and electrolytes. The patient is given oral rehydration therapy (ORT) that helps in replenishing the water and electrolytes. In severe cases, the patient maybe given intravenous fluids to replace the lost fluids. The doctor may prescribe antiematic drugs to control the vomiting. In case of bacterial intestinal infection, the doctor may prescribe antibiotics like fluoroquinolone or macrolide. In case of parasitic infection, the patient maybe given anti-parasitic medications.
The best way to prevent a stomach flu is by washing your hands frequently. Hands carry bacteria and viruses after touching a number of surfaces and objects. The bacteria and virus easily enter the body after one eats with these dirty hands or bites on their nails. Thus, before your eat or drink anything, make sure you wash your hands with an antibiotic liquid hand wash. Never bite your nails as they are a hot bed for germs.
Contaminated foods and drinks too spread gastrointestinal infections. One should wash vegetables and fruits before eating them. Make sure the meat is cooked properly, and avoid eating undercooked meat. Make sure you carry your own water bottle when traveling. Always wash your hands after you touch your pets. Many pets like reptilian pets and aquatic pets are carriers of bacteria that cause diarrhea.
One needs to drink a lot of water to keep oneself hydrated. Diarrhea and vomiting causes a loss of water and electrolytes from the body. This puts one at risk of dehydration. One should drink some soup and fruit juice with no sugar. Avoid dairy products like milk. One should follow their doctors advise at all costs for a fast recovery. One usually overcomes the symptoms within a week or so. But, this stomach upset leaves one very weak and lethargic. Thus, make sure you follow a healthy diet, once diarrhea and vomiting stops.