Gastroenteritis is also known as tummy bug or gastric flu and is characterized by the inflammation of the intestines and stomach lining also known as the gastric mucosa. This disease is caused by intake of contaminated food or water and can strike both adults and children.
Causes of gastroenteritis:
A variety of viruses seem to be the biggest culprits that cause gastroenteritis. Other than this, germs that thrive on foods that have the tendency to get easily contaminated by various toxins and other poisonous substances such as meat and meat products, seafood, milk and desserts can also cause gastroenteritis. Intake of contaminated food that has been handled by infected individuals such as in restaurants can also result in this condition. Food and drug allergies also contribute to this illness.
Symptoms of gastroenteritis:
Gastroenteritis tends to begin abruptly with nausea and abdominal cramping. This is followed by vomiting, lack of appetite, diarrhea, fever, fatigue, dehydration, muscle cramps, abdominal pain, passage of stools filled with blood and mucus and fainting.
Treatment for gastroenteritis:
The patient struck by gastroenteritis should be placed on complete bed rest and must refrain from taking food until nausea and vomiting are stopped. Heat compresses can be applied to the abdomen to alleviate abdominal pain and cramping. The patient should be given boiled water with an electrolyte solution to prevent dehydration. You can make an oral rehydration solution (ORS) by extracting the juice of 1 lemon and mixing it with a pinch of salt and 5 tbsp of sugar in a glass of water.
In order to arrest vomiting, an ice bag can be applied to the stomach, throat and spine of the patient. Once the vomiting is controlled the patient should be fed small quantities of tender barley water or rice water at regular intervals. Once the symptoms subside and the patient is able to take solid foods, he/she must embark on a diet comprising of ripe bananas, rice, curd and apples. All flavored, processed, fermented, spicy and fried foods should be eliminated from the diet.
If you are looking to prevent gastroenteritis, you must avoid eating uncooked or partially cooked foods, particularly when eating outside. Do not drink water from public taps and make sure that you carry a bottle of boiled water whenever stepping out of the house. All fruits and vegetables must be thoroughly washed in a solution of potassium permanganate before being used. Your hands, nails and fingers should be thoroughly washed before eating anything.