What is Gastroenteritis?

Viral gastroenteritis, also known as the stomach flu, is an intestinal infection that can cause diarrhea, abdominal cramps, nausea, vomiting, and fever.

Gastroenteritis is most commonly contracted through contact with an infected person or by eating contaminated food or water. Healthy adults are likely to recover without complications, however, infants, older adults, and those with weakened immune systems, viral gastroenteritis can be very serious.

Symptoms of viral gastroenteritis may include:

  • Abdominal pain and cramps
  • Watery diarrhea
  • Nausea and/or vomiting
  • Muscles aches or headache
  • Low-grade fever

If you are not able to keep down liquids for 24 hours, are vomiting blood, are dehydrated (excessive thirst, dry mouth) or have bloody bowel movements, you should see a medical professional as soon as possible.

Diagnosing Gastroenteritis

Viral gastroenteritis will be diagnosed based on your symptoms and a physical exam. A rapid stool test can help to detect rotavirus or norovirus, but there are no quick tests for other viruses that may cause gastroenteritis. A stool sample may be submitted to rule out bacterial or parasitic infection.

How to Treat Gastroenteritis

While there is no specific medical treatment for viral gastroenteritis, there are many ways to lessen symptoms at home. Take the steps to stay hydrated by drinking clear fluids slowly, and get plenty of rest to regain strength. Individuals should ease back into eating by gradually eating easy-to-digest, bland foods to avoid nausea. Avoiding dairy products, alcohol, caffeine, or fatty foods can also help.

If you are experiencing any symptoms of gastroenteritis, contact Springfield Urgent Care as soon as possible! We will work with you to find the source of your illness and treat the symptoms.

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