What is the cause of gastroenteritis? How should I treat?

Gastroenteritis is a disease that causes pain and seriously affects life.

Gastroenteritis mainly refers to inflammation of the stomach, small intestine, or large intestine. The main symptoms are nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal discomfort. The most important factor causing acute gastroenteritis is viral infection or bacterial infection. Others include: parasites, allergies, and dairy products are relatively rare.

Viral infection: Rotavirus and Norovirus are more common. If there are children in the family, they should pay special attention. The common symptoms are fever, nausea, vomiting, abdominal distention, diarrhea, and loss of appetite. Mainly through “fecal-oral infection” and “contagion.” Rotavirus is the most common cause of enteritis in infants and young children. The season is most common in winter, accounting for more than 60% of infantile enteritis. Norovirus is less common. Its main symptom is vomiting. Adults and children may be infected. Some people may have diarrhea, but most of them are not serious.

Bacterial infections: Staphylococcus aureus, which causes the most common food poisoning, toxigenic E. coli causing traveller’s diarrhea, Salmonella common in young children, Shigella. The infection pattern and symptoms are almost the same as the virus infection, but most of them are diarrhea. Salmonella and Shigella are commonly found in sour, mucus, green, or blood-like faeces. If high fever does not retreat or dehydration should be immediately treated with antibiotics, otherwise it may lead to sepsis. No matter what type of gastroenteritis is focused on prevention, wash your hands frequently and avoid eating unclean or undercooked food to effectively prevent gastroenteritis.


The main symptoms of viral gastroenteritis are watery diarrhea and vomiting. Others include: abdominal cramps, stomach pains, nausea, and some non-specific viral symptoms such as fever, headache, and muscle soreness. Gastrointestinal symptoms usually begin 1 to 3 days after infection, and the symptoms last for 1-10 days. Most of the patients generally recover completely on their own, but for infants, young children and those who cannot take care of themselves (eg need long-term care or the elderly), dehydration, electrolyte deficiency, convulsions and even death may result. In addition, immunosuppressed people have a longer duration and often have more severe symptoms.

Bacterial gastroenteritis symptoms are similar, including: diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, fever, headache and weakness, and sometimes accompanied by bloody or pus, but not necessarily all the symptoms occur at the same time. Factors such as the age of the patient, the health of the individual, the pathogen of the infection, and the amount of contaminated food eaten can affect the symptoms and their severity. People with very weak resistance will have more severe symptoms and may even die. Symptoms usually last 1 or 2 days, some last 7 to 10 days.


The most important treatment principle for acute gastroenteritis is to prevent dehydration and loss of electrolytes. Mild gastroenteritis does not require complete fasting unless the gastroenteritis is so severe that it is impossible to take medicine or eat, and the inflated stomach is temporarily rested on an empty stomach for a while, and it needs a little drip treatment. The initial diet can be salted rice soup or easily digested starchy foods, such as: porridge, rice soup, toast, taro, cooked potatoes, etc., as well as steamed fresh fish, apples, and bananas. Green bananas are better for diarrhea. Eating should avoid high-fat foods or high-sweet juices or foods to avoid irritating the gastrointestinal motility and increase bowel movements.

If you still eat vomiting, diarrhea or abdominal pain, take a small amount of meals to eat. Sorbitol-rich juices, such as apple juice, pear juice, date juice, etc., should be avoided as much as possible, otherwise it will increase the chance of diarrhea. The focus of observations included the frequency, amount, nature of vomiting and diarrhea, presence or absence of fibrinated mucus, and presence of dehydration or severe abdominal pain. Patients with mild symptoms and immune conditions can usually recover on their own and give gastrointestinal rest and light diet. Mainly symptomatic treatment, including: analgesic antipyretic, antiemetic and diarrhea, relieve gastrointestinal discomfort, fasting and observation can be 6-12 hours, if the symptoms can be relieved by mouth water. If symptoms persist or worsen, sustained high fever, abdominal pain, and persistent severe diarrhea, see a doctor as soon as possible.

The supplement of water and electrolytes can help patients with acute gastroenteritis recover. The use of antibiotics does not help the virus infection, but there are side effects, such as changes in the normal bacterial flora, malabsorption, or prolonged row of bacteria. However, early use of antibiotics is required for elderly or immunocompromised persons, or for severe bacterial gastroenteritis. Gastrointestinal diet should be light, because the oil or too sweet foods can not be absorbed, anti-easy cause diarrhea symptoms worse.


Acute gastroenteritis is mainly transmitted through the faecal route, so hand hygiene is very important. Wash hands before meals, before meals, and after going to the toilet. In addition, the preservation, preparation, handling, and hygiene of foodstuffs are also important, and the water must also be clean. Try to avoid eating raw food, especially seafood. Cooking ingredients should be thoroughly heated, the center temperature should be at least 70 degrees Celsius, and the storage temperature should be below 7 degrees Celsius. Currently only rotavirus vaccine is available in the market and it is only suitable for children. However, norovirus and most of the viruses and bacteria currently have no vaccine for treatment.

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