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Gastroenteritis in 3 questions

Inflammation in the stomach and intestines, see what can be done to prevent and ease the pain.

What is Gastroenteritis and what are the symptoms?
Gastroenteritis corresponds to inflammation in the stomach and intestine whose symptoms are usually nausea, vomiting, cramps and diarrhea.

As the inflammation is more predominant in the stomach or intestine, more upper or lower symptoms will appear respectively.

Depending on the cause, fever, fatigue, headaches and muscle aches may also appear.

How does gastroenteritis arise?
Gastroenteritis can be caused by bacteria (Campilobacter, Salmonella, E. Coli, Shigella, Yersinia or Staphylococcus).

Parasites (Giardia and Cryptosporidium) or viruses (rotavirus, norovirus, enterovirus, adenovirus and astrovirus).

Or it could be a consequence of other diseases that affect the gastrointestinal tract (celiac disease, lactose intolerance,…).

Or as a result of medications such as antibiotics, antacids, laxatives or chemotherapy.

Mostly occurs by contamination through water or food contaminated with microorganisms, their toxins or feces.

Therefore, either some food or water is no longer in good conditions to be ingested.

And unwanted microorganisms have developed or the food has been contaminated by people or animals.

It is therefore essential to wash your hands after going to the bathroom and to be very careful when handling and cooking food.

Food safety rules are always important.

It can also be contaminated by someone who has gastroenteritis.

If you are helping someone, disinfect your hands and surfaces after episodes of vomiting or diarrhea; or if you are sick, don’t go to work.

In pools with poor hygiene there may also be contamination.

After 1 to 3 days after contagion, symptoms may appear and if everything goes well, after 3 days you will be much better.

Despite this, you can have symptoms for up to 10 days and the intestine can only normalize after more than 15 days.

What to do and what to eat?
Gastroenteritis usually goes away after a few days and does not require any medication.

In any case, you can always talk to the doctor to confirm that it is just gastroenteritis.

If symptoms persist or health condition worsens.

It may be necessary to analyze the stool to see what bacteria, parasite or virus may be causing the problem and to administer medication accordingly.

As vomiting and diarrhea are frequent, the greater risk is dehydration, which can aggravate symptoms.

In cases of severe diarrhea and vomiting, intravenous rehydration may be required.

So, the most important thing is hydration.

Drink plenty of water + about 250 ml of an electrolyte solution after each episode of diarrhea.

An electrolyte solution has water, glucose, sodium, potassium and chlorine (examples: Miltina or Dioralyte).

You should check the recommended doses for children and adults on the packaging.

Children dehydrate more quickly, so be very aware of symptoms such as dry mouth, dry skin or extreme thirst.

Appetite has decreased, but try to eat something light (without forcing).

Boiled chicken, low-fat chicken soup, cooked bananas, pears and apples, gluten-free bread/toast, soup with only potatoes and carrots are all good options.

Fiber-rich foods, any processed foods, foods with a lot of fat or sweets are contraindicated.

Dairy products should also be avoided, as well as caffeine, alcohol and tobacco.

Babies being breastfed should still drink their breast milk.

Babies with pharmacy formula should drink hypoallergenic milk (called HA milk).

Get plenty of rest and if you’ve identified the meal that made you sick, let the people who ate with you know.

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