Thursday, April 05, 2018 by Ralph Flores
Gastroenteritis, despite its common monicker being the “stomach flu,” isn’t a type of flu, nor is it limited to the stomach alone. Strictly speaking, the term gastroenteritis refers to the inflammation of the linings of the stomach and the intestines, collectively known as the gastrointestinal tract (GIT).
There are many causes of gastroenteritis, but the most common include viruses, bacteria, and parasites. Viral gastroenteritis, in particular, is known to be highly contagious and extremely common and is mainly caused by four types of viruses.
The main disease causative agents of gastroenteritis (i.e., virus and bacteria) are infectious and can be transmitted either by the fecal-oral route or eat contaminated food and beverage. Other causes, such as food allergies, drug side effects, and some parasites, are non-contagious.
One common misconception is that gastroenteritis and food poisoning are similar, with some even using the terms interchangeably. While they have nearly the same symptoms, the term gastroenteritis refers to inflammation in the GIT caused by either a virus or a bacteria. Food poisoning, which is more common, is the reaction of the body when it ingests toxins from bacteria, parasite, or prion.
Gastroenteritis has no genetic predisposition, but people who live in groups, such as those in the military or students in dormitories, are more prone to the condition. Frequent travelers are also at greater risk, with their interaction with different people and places at any given point.
The hallmark sign of gastroenteritis is diarrhea. This is because the colon loses its ability to retain fluids when it is inflamed, causing stools to become loose and watery. Other symptoms are:
Gastroenteritis commonly affects the GIT; however, a common complication is dehydration. Some signs include extreme thirst, dark-colored urine, dry skin and mouth, sunken cheeks and mouth, and dry diapers (for infants).
To relieve gastroenteritis, the following steps are recommended.
Gastroenteritis does not usually need urgent medical attention, and symptoms get better on its own. However, if the following cases occur, it would be best to get medical advice.
Gastroenteritis refers to the inflammation of the linings of the stomach and the intestines, collectively known as the gastrointestinal tract. There are many causes, but the most common include viruses, bacteria, and parasites.
The hallmark sign of gastroenteritis is diarrhea. This is because the colon loses its ability to retain fluids when it is inflamed, causing stools to become loose and watery. While gastroenteritis commonly affects the GIT; however, one common complication is dehydration.
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