Points to remember about Viral Gastroenteritis.

By  ,  National Institute of Health
Jan 12, 2013

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  1. Viral gastroenteritis is a highly contagious infection of the intestines caused by one of several viruses.
  2. Although sometimes called "stomach flu," viral gastroenteritis is not caused by the influenza virus and does not affect the stomach.
  3. The main symptoms are watery diarrhea and vomiting.
  4. Anyone can get viral gastroenteritis through unwashed hands, close contact with an infected person, or food and beverages that contain the virus.
  5. Diagnosis is based on the symptoms and a physical examination. Currently only rotavirus can be rapidly detected in a stool test.
  6. Viral gastroenteritis has no specific treatment; antibiotics are not effective against viruses. Treatment focuses on reducing the symptoms and preventing dehydration.
  7. The symptoms of dehydration are excessive thirst, dry mouth, dark yellow urine or little or no urine, decreased tears, severe weakness or lethargy, and dizziness or lightheadedness.
  8. Infants, young children, the elderly, and people with weak immune systems have a higher risk of developing dehydration due to vomiting and diarrhea.
  9. People with viral gastroenteritis should rest, drink clear liquids, and eat easy-to-digest foods.
  10. For infants and young children, oral rehydration solutions can replace lost fluids, minerals, and salts.
  11. Avoid viral gastroenteritis by washing hands thoroughly after using the bathroom or changing diapers, disinfecting contaminated surfaces, and avoiding foods or liquids that might be contaminated.


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