Gastroenteritis refers to the inflammation of the stomach and intestines, affecting individuals across all genders and age groups. This condition often results from infections caused by bacteria, viruses, or parasites, commonly manifesting symptoms like vomiting and diarrhoea.

Causes of Gastroenteritis

  • Viruses: Examples include Norovirus and Rotavirus
  • Bacteria: E.g., Escherichia coli (E. coli), Salmonella, Shigella
  • Parasites: Such as Giardia and Cryptosporidium

Modes of Transmission

  1. Consumption of contaminated food or water
  2. Touching contaminated objects
  3. Direct contact with an infected person
  4. Lack of proper hand hygiene after toilet use or diaper change

Recognising the Symptoms of Gastroenteritis

Depending on the source of inflammation, the symptoms can vary and last anywhere from one day to several weeks. Typical symptoms include:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhoea or watery stools
  • Abdominal pain and cramping
  • Low-grade fever
  • Dehydration, primarily due to diarrhoea or vomiting

Diagnosis Procedures

  • Gathering patient history, which includes symptoms and past medical conditions
  • Conducting additional tests such as stool analysis

Treatment Options for Gastroenteritis

While there is no definitive treatment for virus-induced gastroenteritis, symptom management is usually the focus. Treatments may include:

  • Anti-nausea medication
  • Fever-reducing drugs
  • Pain medication

For bacterial or parasitic gastroenteritis, specific medications aimed at eliminating the bacteria or parasites are generally prescribed.

Self-Care Recommendations

  • Replenish lost fluids by drinking water or electrolytes to avoid dehydration
  • Ensure ample rest
  • Consume soft foods
  • Comply with all prescribed medication, such as fever reducers, pain relief, and anti-nausea drugs

Prevention and Halting Transmission

  • Isolate yourself by staying home from work, school, or daycare for a minimum of two days. Also, avoid visiting hospital patients during this period.
  • Adhere to hand hygiene by washing hands with soap and water post-toilet use, post-sneezing, post-coughing, post-diaper changing, and before and after food preparation.
  • Disinfect all home surfaces
  • Keep the patient's clothing, towels, and bedding separate and wash them independently.
  • Refrain from sharing personal items like towels and utensils with the affected individual.
  • Opt for well-cooked food.