Gastroenteritis, viral

Other names: Stomach flu

DEFINITION

Viral gastroenteritis is an intestinal infection marked by watery diarrhea, abdominal cramps, nausea or vomiting, and sometimes fever. The most common way to develop viral gastroenteritis is through contact with an infected person or by ingesting contaminated food or water.

SYMPTOMS

CAUSES

RISK FACTORS

Complications:
Dehydration is the main complication of viral gastroenteritis, especially in infants, older adults, and immunocompromised individuals.

PREPARING FOR YOUR APPOINTMENT

Prepare a list of questions for your doctor and expect questions about symptoms and possible contacts with infected individuals.

TESTS AND DIAGNOSIS

Diagnosis is usually based on symptoms and physical exam. Rapid stool tests can detect specific viruses like Rotavirus or Norovirus.

TREATMENTS AND DRUGS

There's no specific medical treatment for viral gastroenteritis. Antibiotics are not effective against viruses.

Lifestyle and Home Remedies:

QUESTIONS

  1. What are the common symptoms of viral gastroenteritis?

Symptoms include watery diarrhea, abdominal cramps, nausea, vomiting, and low-grade fever.

  1. How is viral gastroenteritis different from influenza?

Influenza affects the respiratory system, while gastroenteritis affects the intestines.

  1. Who is at higher risk for complications from viral gastroenteritis?

Infants, older adults, and individuals with weakened immune systems are at higher risk.

  1. What is the main complication of viral gastroenteritis?

Dehydration is the main complication, especially in vulnerable populations.

  1. How can viral gastroenteritis be diagnosed?

Diagnosis is usually based on symptoms, physical exam, and sometimes stool tests for specific viruses.

  1. Is there a specific treatment for viral gastroenteritis?

There is no specific medical treatment; self-care measures are recommended.

  1. How can viral gastroenteritis be prevented?

Prevention includes vaccination (Rotavirus), hand hygiene, avoiding sharing personal items, and disinfecting surfaces.

  1. What should you do if you suspect you have viral gastroenteritis?

Stay hydrated, follow bland diet, practice good hygiene, and seek medical attention if symptoms worsen or persist.

  1. Can antibiotics treat viral gastroenteritis?

No, antibiotics are not effective against viruses causing gastroenteritis.

  1. When should infants with suspected gastroenteritis see a doctor?

Infants with high fever, lethargy, bloody diarrhea, dehydration signs should see a doctor promptly.