Because of diarrhea and vomiting, you also can become dehydrated. Watch for signs of dehydration, such as dry skin and a dry mouth, feeling lightheaded, and being really thirsty. Call your doctor if you have any of these symptoms.
Children can get dehydrated quickly, so if your child has the stomach flu, it's important that you look for signs that he is very thirsty or has dry skin or a dry mouth. If you have a baby, look for fewer, drier diapers.
Keep children with gastroenteritis out of day care or school until all symptoms are gone. Check with your doctor before giving your child any medicine. Drugs used to control diarrhea and vomiting aren't usually given to children younger than 5.
There are many ways gastroenteritis can be spread:
· Contact with someone who has the virus
· Contaminated food or water
· Unwashed hands after going to the bathroom or changing a diaper
Rotavirus is the world's most common cause of diarrhea in infants and young children. Norovirus is the most common cause of serious gastroenteritis and also foodborne disease outbreaks in the U.S.
Although not as common, bacteria such as E. coli and salmonella can also trigger the stomach flu. Salmonella and campylobacter bacteria are the most common bacterial causes of gastroenteritis in the U.S. and are usually spread by undercooked poultry, eggs, or poultry juices. Salmonella can also be spread through pet reptiles or live poultry.
Another bacteria, shigella, is often passed around in day care centers. It typically is spread from person to person, and common sources of infection are contaminated food and drinking water.
Parasites can also cause gastroenteritis, but it's not common. You can pick up organisms such as giardia and cryptosporidium in contaminatedswimming pools or by drinking contaminated water.
There are also other unusual ways to get gastroenteritis:
· Heavy metals (arsenic, cadmium, lead, or mercury) in drinking water
· Eating a lot of acidic foods, like citrus fruit and tomatoes
· Toxins that might be found in certain seafood
· Gastroenteritis is a very common condition that causes diarrhoea and vomiting. It's usually caused by a bacterial or viral tummy bug.
· It affects people of all ages, but is particularly common in young children.
· Gastroenteritis can be very unpleasant, but it usually clears up by itself within a week. You can normally look after yourself or your child at home until you're feeling better.
· Try to avoid going to your GP, as gastroenteritis can spread to others very easily.
The main symptoms of gastroenteritis are:
The symptoms usually appear up to a day after becoming infected. They typically last less than a week, but can sometimes last longer.
If you experience sudden diarrhoea and vomiting, the best thing to do is stay at home until you're feeling better. There's not always a specific treatment, so you have to let the illness run its course.
You don't usually need to get medical advice, unless your symptoms don't improve or there's a risk of a more serious problem (see When to get medical advice).
To help ease your symptoms:
Gastroenteritis can spread very easily, so you should wash your hands regularly while you're ill and stay off work or school until at least 48 hours after your symptoms have cleared, to reduce the risk of passing it on (seePreventing gastroenteritis).
You don't normally need to see your GP if you think you have gastroenteritis, as it should get better on its own.
Visiting your GP surgery can put others at risk, so it's best to call NHS 111 or your GP if you're concerned or feel you need advice.
Get medical advice if:
Your GP may suggest sending off a sample of your poo to a laboratory to check what's causing your symptoms. Antibiotics may be prescribed if this shows you have a bacterial infection.
You can look after your child at home if they have diarrhoea and vomiting. There's not usually any specific treatment and your child should start feeling better in a few days.
You don't normally need to get medical advice unless their symptoms don't improve or there's a risk of a more serious problem (see Getting medical advice for your child).
To help ease your child's symptoms:
Make sure you and your child wash your hands regularly while your child is ill and keep them away from school or nursery until at least 48 hours after their symptoms have cleared
You don't usually need to see your GP if you think your child has gastroenteritis, as it should get better on its own, and taking them to a GP surgery can put others at risk.
Call NHS 111 or your GP if you're concerned about your child, or they:
Your GP may suggest sending off a sample of your child's poo to a laboratory to confirm what's causing their symptoms. Antibiotics may be prescribed if this shows they have a bacterial infection.
The bugs that cause gastroenteritis can spread very easily from person to person.
You can catch the infection if small particles of vomit or poo from an infected person get into your mouth, such as through:
A person with gastroenteritis is most infectious from when their symptoms start until 48 hours after all their symptoms have passed, although they may also be infectious for a short time before and after this.
The most common way to develop viral gastroenteritis — often called stomach flu — is through contact with an infected person or by ingesting contaminated food or water. If you're otherwise healthy, you'll likely recover without complications. But for infants, older adults and people with compromised immune systems, viral gastroenteritis can be deadly.
There's no effective treatment for viral gastroenteritis, so prevention is key. In addition to avoiding food and water that may be contaminated, thorough and frequent hand-washings are your best defense.