Gastroenteritis is a common infection of the gut. Many viruses, bacteria and other germs can cause gastroenteritis. A virus is the most common cause of gastroenteritis. Viruses are easily spread from one person to another. This is often because of the virus being present on people's hands after they have been to the toilet. Food poisoning causes some cases of gastroenteritis. Investigations are not usually needed. The usual symptoms:
Diarrhoea. Sickness and / or vomiting. Abdominal (tummy) pains usually crampy in nature. Fever. Dehydration symptoms: tiredness, dizziness, headache, muscular cramps, sunken eyes,
passing little urine, dry mouth and tongue, weakness, and becoming irritable.
Self management of gastroenteritis: Symptoms often settle within a few days as your immune system clears the infection.
Diarrhoea and vomiting may cause dehydration (a lack of fluid in the body). Mild
dehydration is common and is usually easily reversed by drinking lots of fluids. If you vomit, wait 5-10 minutes and then start drinking again, but more slowly. For example, a small sip every 2-3 minutes.
Rehydration drinks are recommended for people who are frail or who have underlying
health problems. They are available from pharmacies. Rehydration drinks provide a good balance of water, salts, and sugar.
It is advised to eat small, light meals if you can. Be guided by your appetite. You may not
feel like food and most adults can do without food for a few days. Plain foods such as wholemeal bread and biscuits can be tried first.
Anti-diarrhoea drugs are not recommended to children under 12 years or pregnant ladies.
Also, don’t use anti-diarrhoea drugs if you pass blood with the diarrhoea nor if you have a high temperature. People with other conditions should not take loperamide (Brand name “Imodium”). So please read the information leaflet that comes with the medicine before taking loperamide.
Preventing spread of infection to others:
Wash your hands thoroughly after going to the toilet and before eating. Don’t share towels
Best to avoid preparing or serving food for others. Regularly clean the toilets that you use at least once a day. Stay of work, college, etc, until at least 48 hours after the last episode of diarrhoea or
When should I consult a nurse practitioner or a doctor:
If you suspect that you are becoming dehydrated. If you have blood in your diarrhoea or vomit. If you have severe symptoms or if you feel that your condition is getting worse. Infections caught abroad. If you are elderly or have an underlying health problem such as diabetes. If your occupation is a food handler. Special clearance may be needed to be given before a
Wellbrook Medical Centre – Caring for your wellbeing
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