Keys To Preventing Spread Of Viral Gastroenteritis
- Washing hands for 20 seconds with soap and water, especially: after changing a diaper, after going to the bathroom, before preparing food, and before eating.
- Avoiding touching the face with unwashed hands.
- Don’t share food or utensils with other people.
- Dispose of dirty diapers or other items with stool on them with care.
- Avoid close contact with people who are already ill.
- After an illness, clean surfaces that may have the virus on them with detergent and chlorine bleach.
- Don’t prepare any food for other people until at least 2 or 3 days after diarrhea/vomiting stops.
- Don’t eat food that is prepared by someone who is ill with diarrhea/vomiting.
- Stay home and away from other people when ill.
The fecal-oral route tends to make most people cringe because it implies close contact between stool or feces and the face. Not washing hands well is usually how the viruses that cause illnesses are spread.
However, its important to remember that the viruses that cause illness are spread quite easily, especially in daycare centers, schools, or adult care facilities. Those who care for children and adults who wear diapers, especially, need to take care to wash hands carefully with soap and water. Babies and children should have their hands washed often, especially if they are touching their diaper area.
When To Call Your Healthcare Provider
Most people can manage rotavirus on their own, but in some cases, professional medical care is necessary.
- A fever over 100 degrees
- A fever lasting for longer than three or four days
- You feel like you cannot keep down any water or food
- Blood in your stool or dark-colored stools
- Vomiting blood
- Very little or no urine
- A weak or rapid heartbeat
- Very dry mouth
- Cool sensation in your arms and legs
- Difficulty breathing
- Difficulty walking or standing
Why Rotavirus Can Be Serious
Elderly adults and those with a compromised immune system due to illness or chemotherapy can lose their immunity to the virus and are more susceptible to becoming very ill as a result of gastroenteritis.
You may encounter different strains of rotavirus that you are not immune to when you travel, which can cause you to become very sick.
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How To Get Rid Of The Stomach Flu: 7 Home Remedies That Can Help
Getting rid of a stomach virus can actually be as simple as waiting 24 to 28 hours for symptoms to subside. If youre looking to feel better faster and recover well from the stomach flu, there are some natural remedies that you can easily do at home that have been known to help boost the recovery process.
Do you know what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say about how to get rid of stomach flu caused by the norovirus? According to the CDC:
There is no specific medicine to treat people with norovirus illness. Norovirus infection cannot be treated with antibiotics because it is a viral infection. If you have norovirus illness, you should drink plenty of liquids to replace fluid lost from throwing up and diarrhea. This will help prevent dehydration.
When you have the stomach flu, youre most likely dealing with diarrhea and/or vomiting. Both of these symptoms mean a lot of water loss for your body and the chance of dehydration which only makes you feel that much worse. To avoid becoming dehydrated from the stomach flu, its really important that you consume a lot of clear liquids like water, coconut water and herbal tea.
2. What To Eat
3. What Not to Eat
You want to know how to get rid of the stomach flu fast? Well, what you dont put into your body can be just as important or helpful as what you do put into your body! If you have the stomach flu, there are certain foods and drinks youll want to avoid until youre feeling better.
How Do Doctors Treat Viral Gastroenteritis
Your doctor may prescribe medicine to control severe vomiting. Doctors dont prescribe antibiotics to treat viral gastroenteritis. Antibiotics dont work for viral infections.
In some cases, your doctor may recommend probiotics. Probiotics are live microbes, most often bacteria, that are like the ones you normally have in your digestive tract. Studies suggest that some probiotics may help shorten a case of diarrhea. Researchers are still studying the use of probiotics to treat viral gastroenteritis. For safety reasons, talk with your doctor before using probiotics or any other complementary or alternative medicines or practices.
Anyone with signs or symptoms of dehydration should see a doctor right away. Doctors may need to treat people with severe dehydration in a hospital.
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Is Stomach Flu Contagious
Viral stomach flu spreads easily to others. You can catch a stomach flu virus any time of the year, but the common norovirus is more widespread from November to April when people tend to be more indoors. Because a variety of viruses can cause stomach flu, you might get different versions of gastroenteritis many times throughout life.
Its spread from person to person by coming into contact with tiny, invisible particles from a sick persons stool or vomit if you:
- Touch a surface and come in contact with the germs and you touch food or your mouth.
- Eat or drink food or beverages that have a sick persons germs.
- Have close contact with someone who has stomach flu .
Antibiotics For Bacterial Gastroenteritis
In mild cases of bacterial gastroenteritis, antibiotics are typically not considered necessary and will not be prescribed. Antibiotic medication is generally only recommended in severe or persistent cases of bacterial food poisoning, in some cases of travelerâs diarrhea, in infections with C. difficile and in cases where the person has a weakened immune system or is otherwise at risk of complications. The type of antibiotics needed will depend on the specific type of bacteria, which may need to be determined with laboratory tests.
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What Are The Causes Of Gastroenteritis In Children
The causes of gastroenteritis in children are :
The germs causing gastroenteritis may spread easily if children
- Eat food after touching a contaminated object
- Live with an infected person
When Do I Need To See A Doctor
You need to seek medical advice if you think you are becoming dehydrated, you’re throwing up a lot and can’t keep fluids down, you have blood in your poo or sick , or you have severe tummy pains. A persistent high temperature or diarrhoea or puking that lasts longer than expected are other reasons to contact the doc. Also, if you’re elderly, have a long-term condition such as diabetes, are pregnant or have trouble with your immune system, don’t hesitate to get in touch with a health professional.
Gastroenteritis is common. About 1 in 5 people in the UK will develop an episode of gastroenteritis in a year.
Most people have a mild form of gastroenteritis and do not need to seek medical advice or to visit their doctor.
- The main symptom is diarrhoea, often with being sick as well. Diarrhoea means loose or watery stools , usually at least three times in 24 hours. Blood or mucus can appear in the stools with some infections.
- Crampy pains in your tummy are common. Pains may ease for a while each time you pass some diarrhoea.
- A high temperature , headache and aching limbs sometimes occur.
If vomiting occurs, it often lasts only a day or so but sometimes longer. Diarrhoea often continues after the vomiting stops and commonly lasts for several days or more. Slightly loose stools may continue for a week or so further before a normal pattern returns. Sometimes the symptoms last longer.
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Is A Stomach Virus Contagious
Yes, a stomach virus can be contagious. Sick people who do not wash their hands before preparing food can spread the stomach flu to others. Stomach viruses are contagious because viruses and bacteria can live in or on food.
If the food is handled or cooked improperly, you have a greater risk of catching the stomach flu. Cross-contamination during cooking also causes stomach viruses to spread. This can happen when a person uses the same cutting board or knife to prepare different foods.
When To Seek Medical Help For Gastroenteritis
Most people with gastroenteritis get better at home without seeing a doctor. But contact your GP if you:
- are being sick a lot and cant keep down any fluids
- have blood in your diarrhoea
- have a high temperature
- have had diarrhoea for more than 10 days
- cant control your bowels
- have signs of dehydration, such as a dry mouth, muscle cramps, peeing very little, sunken eyes, confusion or irritability
- have recently been abroad
- have kidney or liver disease
- have other long-term conditions, such as a weak immune system, diabetes or inflammatory bowel disease
- dont have someone who can look after you at home and your symptoms are very bad
Its important to seek medical help if you think a child with gastroenteritis is dehydrated. See our FAQ on How can I tell if my child is dehydrated?
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Bacterial Gastroenteritis Caused By Exotoxins
Some cases of bacterial gastroenteritis are not caused by bacteria themselves, but instead by toxins that they release. The harmful byproducts of certain types of bacteria can contaminate food, causing a type of food poisoning when ingested. These byproducts are called exotoxins, and they usually cause symptoms within 12 hours of consuming the contaminated food. This type of gastroenteritis typically clears up within 36 hours.
A Pharmacist Can Help With Diarrhoea And Vomiting
Speak to a pharmacist if:
- you or your child have signs of dehydration such as dark, smelly pee or peeing less than usual
- you need to stop diarrhoea for a few hours
They may recommend:
- oral rehydration sachets you mix with water to make a drink
- medicine to stop diarrhoea for a few hours not suitable for children under 12
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Getting Medical Advice For Your Child
You don’t usually need to see your GP if you think your child has gastroenteritis, as it should get better on its own, and taking them to a GP surgery can put others at risk.
Phone the 111 service or your GP if you’re concerned about your child, or they:
- have symptoms of dehydration, such as passing less urine than normal, being unusually irritable or unresponsive, pale or mottled skin, or cold hands and feet
- have blood in their poo or green vomit
- are vomiting constantly and are unable to keep down any fluids or feeds
- have had diarrhoea for more than a week
- have been vomiting for three days or more
- have signs of a more serious illness, such as a high fever , shortness of breath, rapid breathing, a stiff neck, a rash that doesn’t fade when you roll a glass over it or a bulging fontanelle
- have a serious underlying condition, such as inflammatory bowel disease or a weak immune system, and have diarrhoea and vomiting
Your GP may suggest sending off a sample of your child’s poo to a laboratory to confirm what’s causing their symptoms. Antibiotics may be prescribed if this shows they have a bacterial infection.
How Can I Prevent Viral Gastroenteritis
You can take several steps to keep from getting or spreading infections that cause viral gastroenteritis. Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water
- after using the bathroom
- after changing diapers
- before and after handling, preparing, or eating food
You can clean surfaces that may have come into contact with infected stool or vomit, such as countertops and changing tables, with a mixture of 5 to 25 tablespoons of household bleach and 1 gallon of water.7 If clothes or linens may have come into contact with an infected persons stool or vomit, you should wash them with detergent for the longest cycle available and machine dry them. To protect yourself from infection, wear rubber gloves while handling the soiled laundry and wash your hands afterward.7
If you have viral gastroenteritis, avoid handling and preparing food for others while you are sick and for 2 days after your symptoms stop.7 People who have viral gastroenteritis may spread the virus to any food they handle, especially if they do not thoroughly wash their hands. Contaminated water may also spread a virus to foods before they are harvested. For example, contaminated fruits, vegetables, and oysters have been linked to norovirus outbreaks. Wash fruits and vegetables before using them, and thoroughly cook oysters and other shellfish.7Find tips to help keep food safe.
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Medicine For Stomach Virus
There are no medications to cure stomach viruses, since usually they will just run their course and resolve on their own. In some instances, you may become severely dehydrated, in which case you may need stomach flu treatment such as IV fluid therapy under the supervision of a healthcare provider.
Some people who continue to have diarrhea may choose to take over-the-counter stomach flu medications, such as:
- Oral rehydration solutions
If you have diarrhea for more than 2 days without improvement, you should seek medical attention. Otherwise, common home remedies are used to treat stomach viruses.
When Should I Call The Doctor
- cant drink for several hours
- is peeing less often
- has signs of dehydration, such as crying with few or no tears, having a dry mouth or cracked lips, feeling dizzy or lightheaded, acting very sleepy or less alert
- has a high fever
- has blood in their poop or vomit
- is vomiting for more than 24 hours or the diarrhea doesnt get better after several days
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Get Stomach Virus Treatment Online
Stomach viruses are common and can usually be treated at home. Make an appointment to speak with a PlushCare provider online if you have:
- Stomach flu symptoms which have not improved in 2 days
- You can`t keep liquids down
- Blood in your vomit or bowel movement
- A fever that does not go away
- Severe belly pain
These may be signs of a more serious problem.
When you meet with an online doctor at PlushCare, you can speak with a board-certified primary care physician, who can help create the right treatment plan for you. To schedule an appointment with a PlushCare doctor,.
Can A Stomach Virus Be Prevented Or Avoided
A flu shot will not prevent a stomach virus. The flu shot only prevent the influenza virus. That is a respiratory illness.
The norovirus can change over time. Therefore, vaccines are still being studied. A rotavirus vaccine is available. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends children get a rotavirus vaccine. Two different vaccines exist. They require 2 to 3 doses. Children should receive the full vaccine prior to 8 months of age.
You can help prevent or avoid a stomach virus by doing these things:
- Wash your hands often.
- Cover your mouth and nose when you sneeze or cough.
- Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects in your home, office, and classroom.
- Use hand sanitizer after being in public.
- Stay away from people who have the virus.
If you have stomach virus, be responsible. Do not expose others to it. This includes babies, older people, and people with a low immune system. Do not go to school, work, or public places.
How To Prevent Gastroenteritis In Children
The following steps may help prevent the spread of infection in children :
- Encourage them to wash their hands thoroughly before handling food and after using the toilet.
- Ensure the bathrooms and toilets are regularly cleaned.
- Wash their clothes with hot water separately.
- Advise them not to share their food and drink with anyone.
- Keep the kitchen area clean.
- Get your infants vaccinated against rotavirus.
- Use a disinfectant to clean tables, doorknobs, and other surfaces that may be easily touched by children .
Mild gastroenteritis in children is not a cause for concern and clears out in a few days. However, in severe infection, consult a doctor if you see any worrying symptoms in your children. Allow children to rest well and drink plenty of fluids. Also, teach them good hygienic habits to help prevent the risk of infection.
What Is Gastroenteritis
Gastroenteritis is a common condition that affects the gut and is often highly infectious. It is also known as gastro.
Gastro is triggered by infection that causes inflammation of the lining of the digestive system. It can cause vomiting, diarrhoea, stomach pain and nausea.
Gastro is not usually serious, but it can lead to dehydration. Milder forms can be managed at home by drinking fluids. However, older people, young children and those with a weakened immune system are at risk of developing more serious illnesses.
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When To See The Doctor
You should contact your healthcare provider immediately if your child has :
Some important considerations about gastroenteritis treatment are :
- Mild cases of gastroenteritis do not need any treatment and subside by themselves.
- Do not give any medication to children without the doctorâs advice. If your child has pain or fever, give acetaminophen or ibuprofen.
- Racecadotril is a prescription medication for watery diarrhea because it helps reduce fluid loss through stools. It may be given to children above three months .
- Antibiotic treatment is not required for viral gastroenteritis .