The infection or inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract (stomach lining and the intestine) is referred to as gastroenteritis. Also known as gastro, this condition is fairly common and does not have serious consequences for most adults. If the patient’s body loses more fluid than it can replace as a result of the illness, it can lead to severe dehydration.
Healthy adults who encounter this disease are most likely to recover without any severe complications within two weeks.
The Risk of Complications Arising from Gastroenteritis increases in the Following individuals:
People who have a compromised immune system or a pre-existing illness
The illness is mostly characterized by symptoms like diarrhea, nausea or vomiting, loss of energy, and abdominal cramps. Fever is also a common observation in the case of acute gastroenteritis as a result of the body’s immune response to the infection.
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The most common gastroenteritis causes are viral infections, although it can also be caused by bacteria, parasites, and other microorganisms. These microbes produce harmful toxins that can lead to the diarrhoea by promoting the loss of electrolytes from the body.
People mostly contract this disease through direct contact with a person who is already affected or by the intake of food or water that is contaminated. This can lead to inflammation of the gut, which leads to loss of absorption of nutrients. There is excessive loss of water and salts from the body. The gastroenteritis treatment involves making up for this loss of fluids and electrolytes.
The most common type of gastroenteritis is viral gastroenteritis, also known as viral diarrhoea. It can be caused by the following:
Viral diarrhoea is also referred to as stomach flu and can be avoided by taking proper preventative measures. Vaccines for children against viruses like rotavirus can also prevent the development of this disease.
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Another common form of this illness is bacterial gastroenteritis, also known as food poisoning. This is caused by the consumption of contaminated food and water. Symptoms like extreme abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting are apparent in people who have acquired this infection. This type of gastro infection can be treated by taking adequate rest and drinking plenty of fluids to make up for the lost salts and water from the body.
This form of gastric infection does not have a known cause, but most people have a family history of allergy or hypersensitivity to a certain type of food. The symptoms of eosinophilic gastritis include weight loss, abdominal pain, bleeding, nausea etc. The disease involves the infiltration of eosinophils into the stomach and intestine. This is one of the rarer forms of the disease.
This is another common form of gastric infection caused by toxins produced by Escherichia coli. This condition is seen in people who have travelled to a location with unsanitary conditions such as contaminated water or food. Traveler's must take care of the hygiene and safety of the food and water they consume to prevent this disorder.
If you are otherwise healthy, you will be free of the disease’s symptoms in a few days. In some cases, the disease may advance into a severe case of dehydration. In such cases, it is important to seek the counsel of a healthcare professional.
The most pertinent gastro symptoms are watery diarrhea and vomiting. This is also accompanied by other conditions such as:
Fever and chills
Weakness or fatigue
Feeling dizzy or lightheaded
The treatment of this condition is determined based on what caused the disease and how far it has progressed. The gastro treatment for most patients involves the use of antibiotics and providing supportive care. Prevention of the disease is the best way to avoid any serious complications.
Healthy adults are likely to recover on their own, but infants and older adults have a risk of dehydration. In cases of severe dehydration, fluids are transferred to the patient’s body intravenously. Although rare, severe dehydration may be life-threatening in case of a suppressed immune system or pre-existing illnesses.
1. What is the Most Significant Complication Associated with Gastroenteritis?
Ans- By understanding gastroenteritis meaning and its various types, you can identify the symptoms associated with the disease and take proper preventative care to avoid serious complications. Adults usually encounter mild cases of the infection, while people with a weakened immune system have the risk of getting severely dehydrated caused by a sudden attack of diarrhoea or vomiting. Therefore, it is important to look for signs of dehydration such as dry skin or mouth, especially in young children.
The main complication of this disease is dehydration, caused by the excessive loss of water and essential nutrients from the body faster than it can be replaced. The patient may require hospitalization if dehydration is severe and the body is not able to replace the lost fluids on its own. Dehydration can be fatal in some rare cases.
2. What Preventative Measures can be Taken to Avoid Gastroenteritis?
Ans - The best way to prevent gastro infection is by taking care of your hygiene and safety at all times. Eat clean and healthy food and avoid food and water that may be coming from contaminated sources. It is also advised to clean your hands frequently, especially before and after eating. Proper disposal of waste and vaccination of small children against viruses are also important to prevent the development of various types of gastroenteritis.
There are some additional steps that you can take to ensure that you do not contract the infection while travelling. These Include -
Choose healthy and hygienic food.
Always drink bottled or carbonated water.
Wash your hands using soap and water.
You should use well-sealed bottled water even for activities like brushing.
Do not consume raw or undercooked food. Avoid meat that is not cooked properly or peeled fruits that have been touched by someone else.