Viral Gastroenteritis – Can It Risk Your Life?
Intestinal infections have certain signs and symptoms, such as stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, fever, etc. Viral gastroenteritis is a type of intestinal infection that is also commonly known as stomach flu.
It generally occurs if a healthy person comes in contact with an infected person or while consuming contaminated food or water. People with a strong immune system tend to get less affected by viral gastroenteritis and are more likely to recover without complications.
However, there is no proper treatment for viral gastroenteritis. If you get affected, the only way to prevent it is to follow certain restrictions and precautions. So, consult with the top gastroenterologist hospital in Kolkata.
Symptoms of viral gastroenteritis
Often people get confused between stomach flu and influenza. But, both are completely different medical conditions. In the case of flu, your respiratory system gets affected, which includes the lungs, throat, and nose.
However, in the case of gastroenteritis, your GI tract gets infected, which also includes your intestine.
The symptoms that indicate you are affected by Viral gastroenteritis are:
- Non-bloody but watery diarrhea in the preliminary stage
- Vomiting and nausea
- Stomach cramp or excessive stomach pain
- Muscle ache and headache
- Low-grade fever
- In extreme conditions, if the infection gets severe, it can lead to bloody diarrhea.
After getting infected, usually, viral gastroenteritis symptoms appear within 2 to 3 days. It can range from mild to severe symptoms, lasting for 3 to 4 days. Depending on the condition of the body, it can also exceed more than 15 days
Read Also: Peptic Ulcer: Types, Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis And Treatment
The symptoms of viral stomach infection and bacterial diarrhea are quite similar but do not get confused between them. Get a proper diagnosis before the treatment to understand the root cause of the disease.
Cause of Viral gastroenteritis
When you drink contaminated water or eat virus-borne food, you will most likely get Viral gastroenteritis. Even sharing the same towels or utensils with an affected person can lead to this condition.
Viruses that cause gastroenteritis are:
- Norovirus mainly affects children and also adults. These are generally food-borne and can affect families and communities in one go. If people are living in confined spaces, then Norovirus has a chance of spreading much more quickly. Even touching surfaces contaminated with Norovirus and then putting your hand in your mouth can lead to viral gastroenteritis.
- Another common cause of viral gastroenteritis is rotavirus. This primarily affects children. Moreover, this virus spreads through objects. If you touch any contaminated object or food, the infection can spread severely among infants and young children. There are no symptoms seen among adults when affected by Rotavirus. However, it can spread illness easily to a healthy person from a person who is unknowingly carrying the virus.
Other than this, eating raw or uncooked seafood or shellfish can lead to viral gastroenteritis.
What are the complications that are generated due to viral gastroenteritis?
The most common complication is dehydration, where the body loses essential salts and minerals through water loss. Dehydration and vomiting also lead to the removal of fluids from the body.
If the body starts to lose a huge amount of fluid, it needs to be replaced, so hospitalization is a must. IV is the only way through which one can recover lost fluid content. Otherwise, dehydration can lead to severe consequences.
Who is at risk of getting affected?
- People of all ages have the chance of getting affected by viral gastroenteritis. However, the more susceptible to gastroenteritis are young children. They become vulnerable while going to a child care center or elementary school because, at this time, they are at the immunity-building stage.
- Older adults with weak immune systems tend to get affected easily. They carry the germs as well as pass on the germs, too. So, one must go through regular follow-ups at a top gastroenterologist hospital in Kolkata.
- People who have weak immune systems also get affected easily. If somebody’s resistance to infection has decreased, such as HIV or AIDS patients, people undergoing chemotherapy, or having an auto-immune disease, then they are at risk of getting affected by the gastroenterologist.
Viral gastroenteritis tends to get active based on seasons. So, you need to maintain precautions during situations where they can spread easily to avoid any kind of complications.
When should you see the doctor?
If you are an adult and have been affected by any of the symptoms listed above, then you must immediately get a thorough check-up. Book an appointment at the top gastroenterologist hospital in Kolkata.
Here are the conditions based on which you must immediately consult with a healthcare provider:
- If fluid loss continues for more than 24 hours.
- If you have been continuously vomiting for more than 2 days.
- In case you find stains of blood in your vomit.
- If you have dehydration symptoms that include excessive thirst, yellow urine or no urine, dry mouth, lightheadedness, and severe weakness.
If you find blood in your ball movements, severe stomach pain that fails to get cured, or fever above 104 Fahrenheit, then you must go to a doctor. Otherwise, it can lead to life-threatening conditions.
For infants and children:
In the case of infants, you have to monitor the child very carefully. Here are the symptoms based on which you must immediately consult with the top gastroenterologist hospital in Kolkata.
- If there are signs of stains or blood, along with diarrhea
- The child is having 102 Fahrenheit fever
- The child seems irritated or tired.
- If the child is going through excessive discount or stomach pain.
Check if the child has become dehydrated and still not drinking water. However, there is excessive thirst, restlessness, dry mouth, urinating, frequent vomiting, etc. Also, check the diaper, whether it has become wet in 6 hours. Other than this, blood in stool, drowsiness, and non-responsiveness symptoms require immediate medical attention.
Precautions and preventions
- Vaccination: In many countries, gastroenteritis, caused due to rotavirus, can be prevented through vaccination. Vaccination will protect the body from risk and also from turning the symptoms into severe conditions.
- Proper hygiene: It is important to wash your hands regularly and mostly after you use the toilet and while changing the diapers. Always maintain proper sanitization and wash your hands before preparing or eating food. It is best to use warm water and soap and rub your hand for at least 15 to 20 seconds. You can also use sanitary wipes or hand sanitizer from time to time.
- Use personal items: You must avoid sharing utensils, that include glasses and plates. Also, maintain a separate towel for the bathroom and try not to share clothes.
- Avoid close contact if somebody is affected by an intestinal infection. You must maintain a proper distance to avoid getting infected.
- Clean hard surfaces: It is advised to keep your home hygienic by disinfecting hard surfaces, such as counters. You can prepare a homemade mixture for proper cleaning.
- Do the laundry daily: Viral gastroenteritis spreads through the laundry. Thus, it is important to wash dirty clothes daily, including bedding. Try to use hot water and dry them properly.
When you have Viral gastroenteritis, it is important to drink fruit and broth, or you can also try sports drinks. This will help to replace the lost fluids and electrolytes that have been drained from your body.
You can also talk to your doctor and consult about the solutions you can provide to an infant who is still feeding on breast milk. Medicines are also suggested to cure viral gastroenteritis, so ditch over-the-counter medicines and get proper treatment from a doctor. Over-the-counter medicines can lead to increased risk among infants and children.
Usually, doctors prescribe probiotics to treat Viral gastroenteritis, as antibiotics won’t work in this case. Talk to a doctor at ILS Hospitals and get alternative or complementary medicines to help you get cured immediately.