Gastroenteritis is a condition that causes irritation and inflammation of the stomach and intestines (the gastrointestinal tract). Most often gastroenteritis is self-limiting, but it can cause significant problems with dehydration. It is very important to have a knowledge about when should one rush to doctor. Fever, increasing severity of abdominal pain, and persistent symptoms should not be ignored and seeking medical care should be considered. The most common symptoms are – Low grade fever – diarrhea – crampy, abdominal pain, – nausea and vomiting
Many people also refer to gastroenteritis as “stomach flu” Self-Care at Home –
Most important is to replace the fluid lost because of vomiting and diarrhea. The problem occurs when the affected individual is nauseous and doesn’t want to drink . Giving too much fluid at one time may cause increased nausea. Small frequent offerings of clear fluids, sometimes only a mouthful at a time, may be enough and prevent an admission to the hospital for intravenous (IV) fluid administration. In general, clear fluids (anything you can see through), may be tolerated in small amounts. Clear fluids are appropriate for the first 24 hours to maintain adequate hydration. After 24 hours of fluid diet without vomiting, begin a soft-bland solid diet such as the BRAT diet (bananas, rice, apples, toast) and then progress the diet to other foods as tolerated. One should seek Medical help when the victim has following complaints-
1-Blood in vomit or stool, 2-vomiting more than 48 hours, 3- Fever higher than 101 F 4- Swollen abdomen or abdominal pain 5- Symptoms and signs of Dehydration as weakness, lightheadedness, decreased urination,dry skin, dry mouth. How to prevent Gastroenteritis
1-Always wash your hands-Most important 2-Eat properly prepared and stored food, 3-Bleach soiled laundry Follow-up after the acute stage has subsided
After an infection or irritation of the digestive tract, the person may not be able to eat a regular diet. Some people may be unable to tolerate dairy products for several weeks after the disease has run its course. The diet should be advanced slowly from bland nondairy soups and grain products to a solid meal.
Dr. Sunil Garg is a Critical care (ICU) specialist, based in Udaipur. By this article his aim is to create awareness among people how to go about and deal with commonly encountered emergency medical situations till one gets medical help.