Gastroenteritis, commonly termed as gastro is an infectious abnormality of the stomach which is characterized by vomiting and diarrhea. There are many types of gastro that are reported till the date. Most of them are not usually serious but they are notorious for causing severe dehydration. Milder forms of gastro can be treated at home by simply drinking fluids. But in case of severe condition, you have to consult with the best gastroenterologists in Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad and other main cities of Pakistan.
This abnormality is manifested by following symptoms:
- Nausea (feeling sick in the stomach)
- Stomach pains
- No appetite
- Weight loss
- Clammy skin
Gastro is mainly be caused by the following factors:
- Viruses such as Rotavirus or Norovirus infections
- Bacteria including Salmonella
- Parasites such as Giardia lamblia
- Chemicals like toxins in poisonous mushrooms
Gastroenteritis is an infectious disease so it can spread very easily. The major causes of its dissemination include:
- Spreading from person to person.
This may occur directly by personal contact or contact with the feces of an infected person, or indirectly by touching contaminated surfaces such as taps, toilet flush handles, children’s toys and nappies which are touched by the infected person before.
- Eating contaminated food.
- Drinking contaminated water.
- Handling pets and other animals.
Persons Who are at Higher Risk
Some individuals are comparatively at higher risk of getting the infection than others and they are following:
- Children under age five
- Older adults, especially residing in nursing homes
- Children and adults with weakened immune systems
For the purpose of diagnosis mostly physical exam is done.
A stool sample can also be examined to check which bacteria is the reason behind the infection.
Mostly this infection is not so severe and managed easily by simple managing techniques. The most important treatment recommended for gastroenteritis is following:
- Excessive fluids in frequent sips
- Rehydration fluids
- Diluted fruit juice (one part juice to four parts of water)
- Eat food in small amounts and let the stomach to recover
- Get lots of rest to avoid weakness
- Avoid milk and other dairy products, sodas, sports drinks and other soft drinks as the sugar content of these things make diarrhea worse.
- Babies can continue milk feeds throughout the illness, with rehydration fluid between feeds.
- Medication for nausea or diarrhea can be useful for adults, but may not be harmful to kids.
To minimize the risk of catching or spreading gastro following preventive measures should be considered:
- Thoroughly wash your hands after using the bathroom or changing nappies
- Use clean food and boiled water
- Avoid direct contact with infected individuals
If you are already suffering from gastro, it’s important to stay at home and make sure not infect other people.
As it is a viral infection, it can be prevented with the help of vaccination. Especially in the case of Rotavirus which infects the children. All young children and kids should receive the rotavirus vaccine at about 2 months and 4 months of age. This vaccine is much effective in preventing the Rotavirus infection in about 7 out of every 10 children which get a vaccination and in case of infants 9 out of 10 infants get protection. The vaccine is able to provide protection up to 5 years.
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