No matter if the gastroenteritis is viral or bacteria, the symptoms are very similar. The major difference is how long they last. Bacterial is more likely to last a few more days, and symptoms may be more severe. Gastroenteritis only lasts a few days, but if your symptoms last longer than 5, be sure to meet with a physician. AFC Urgent Care Lyndhurst can help give patients recommended treatment options to help them feel their best.
Common Gastroenteritis Symptoms
In adults, the most common symptoms of gastroenteritis include:
- Vomiting or nausea
- Low-grade fever
- Abdominal pain
In children, they are likely to experience all of these same symptoms, but they are more susceptible to dehydration. Be sure to monitor your child for these symptoms as well. This can include fewer diapers in babies, dry mouth, crying with no tears, and dry skin. Those with weakened immune systems, such as children, the elderly, or those with health conditions, may experience more severe symptoms.
Causes of Gastroenteritis
Viral gastroenteritis can be caused by norovirus, rotavirus, adenovirus, or astrovirus. All are fairly similar, except there is a recommended vaccine for rotavirus for children. Additionally, they can all be spread through close contact with other infected people, except norovirus. That is more commonly transmitted through contaminated food or water. No matter the cause, they will all experience similar symptoms.
Children at daycares and schools are more likely to transmit gastroenteritis due to their close proximity. If your child becomes infected, it’s best to keep them home for a few days until they are no longer contagious with the virus. Their pediatrician can recommend more specific time frames.
Treatment Options for Gastroenteritis
Since gastroenteritis is most commonly caused by a virus, no medication can be prescribed to cure it. Most cases last only one to two days, so it passes fairly quickly. The most important thing to remember is to maintain hydration. Patients lose a lot of fluid throughout the sickness, so it’s important to replace them with water, clear broth, or non-caffeinated sports drinks. It’s best to let your stomach settle and avoid eating for a few hours. Once you feel you are ready to incorporate foods, do it slowly. Avoid foods that are high in fat, processed, dairy, or alcohol, as this can make an upset stomach worse.
Foods to eat include crackers, rice, bananas, and lightly seasoned chicken. These are all easy on the stomach and are less likely to cause any trouble. In addition to drinking plenty of fluids, be sure to get enough rest. Immune systems need time to rejuvenate and fight off the virus, so rest can help speed up the recovery.