What is the diagnosis of Viral Gastroenteritis

By  ,  Onlymyhealth editorial team
Jul 11, 2011
Quick Bites

  • The symptoms are the telltale signs of viral gastroenteritis.
  • Stool testing is done in certain circumstances.
  • Gastroenteritis attacks your intestines.
  • It can causes diarrhoea and stomach pain.

The inflammation of gastrointestinal tract is known as gastroenteritis. Viral gastroenteritis, commonly known as stomach flu is extremely common in both adults and children. This condition is caused by viruses such as norovirus and is highly contagious.

People can suffer from viral gastroenteritis through norovirus at any given time of the year and the virus is spread through the faecal-oral route. The flu can even be transferred from one person to another. Rotavirus mostly affects infants aged 3 to 15 months.

Diagnosis of Gastroenteritis

The symptoms are the telltale signs of viral gastroenteritis in adults and older children. Your doctor will ask questions about your symptoms and the length of time you have been experiencing them.

Stool testing is done in certain circumstances when the doctor suspects something other than viral gastroenteritis, such as food poisoning. For food poisoning, it is important to pinpoint the likely offender so that others do not become sick from the same food or water.

diagnosing viral gastroenteritis

Symptoms of viral Gastroenteritis

Gastroenteritis attacks your intestines, causing signs and symptoms, such as:

  • Watery, usually non-bloody diarrhoea — bloody diarrhoea usually means you have a different, more severe infection
  • Abdominal cramps and pain
  • Nausea, vomiting or both
  • Occasional muscle aches or headache
  • Low-grade fever


When to Call a Doctor

Mayo Clinic recommends calling a doctor if you are an adult if:

  • You're not able to keep liquids down for 24 hours
  • You've been vomiting for more than two days
  • You're vomiting blood
  • You're dehydrated — signs of dehydration include excessive thirst, dry mouth, deep yellow urine or little or no urine, and severe weakness, dizziness or lightheadedness
  • You notice blood in your bowel movements
  • You have a fever above 104 F (40 C)

diagnosing viral gastroenteritis

The parents of an infant or a child should immediately take him/her to doctor if your child:

  • Has a fever of 102 F (38.9 C) or higher
  • Seems lethargic or very irritable
  • Is in a lot of discomfort or pain
  • Has bloody diarrhea
  • Seems dehydrated — watch for signs of dehydration in sick infants and children by comparing how much they drink and urinate with how much is normal for them

The spread of viral gastrointestinal can be prevented by getting your child vaccinated, washing your hands thoroughly, maintaining good hygiene by all the family members, using separate personal items around your home and office, keeping safe distance from someone who has the infection, and disinfecting hard surfaces like counters.

Image Courtesy: Getty

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