Causes and Prevention of Gastrointestinal Infection
Isn’t it disappointing when the food we eat makes us sick? Stomach infection occurs when the gut is affected by a bacterial infection. Gastroenteritis is an umbrella term used for a wide range of symptoms but each type of bacteria causes its own unique symptoms. This leads to inflammation in the intestines and stomach. It is a common condition because the microbes that cause gastroenteritis can easily spread via contaminated food, water or through person-to-person contact.
The symptoms of bacterial gastroenteritis may vary depending on the bacteria that cause the infection. The infection causes the digestive tract to become irritated, which commonly results in diarrhea, vomiting, and abdominal pain. A person suffering from bacterial infection of the stomach could experience one or more of the following symptoms:
- Loss of appetite
- Fever or chills
- Muscle pain
- Blood in the stools
- Abdominal cramp/ pain
Contact the doctor if the symptoms do not improve in 2 days. Most people with gastroenteritis recover within days as long as they stay properly hydrated. To help keep yourself comfortable and prevent dehydration while you recover, try the following:
- Stop eating solid foods
- Avoid dairy products, caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine
- Avoid sugary, fatty, or spicy/ highly seasoned foods
- Drink plenty of liquid every day, taking small, frequent sips, and rehydration formulas that are available without prescription from a pharmacy
- Ease back into eating slowly with easy-to-digest foods
- Make sure that you get plenty of rest
- Avoid taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as aspirin, ibuprofen, and diclofenac, for pain relief as they can make your stomach more upset
Self-Care for Gastroenteritis
If you are suffering from a stomach infection, take necessary precautions to avoid spreading the bacteria to others. The following actions can be taken to avoid spreading gastroenteritis.
- Frequent and thorough hand washing, especially before eating or preparing food, and after going to the toilet.
- Stay away from caffeine, alcohol, dairy products, and spicy food until you start to feel better.
- Avoid direct contact with infected individuals
- Cleaning and disinfecting kitchen surfaces, especially after working with raw meat or chicken, or eggs.
- Avoid consuming undercooked foods
- Avoid drinking untreated water
- Thoroughly wash any fresh produce, such as fruits and vegetables
- Have your infant or child vaccinated with a rotavirus vaccine, which can prevent gastroenteritis caused by rotavirus
- Drink only bottled or boiled water
- Gastroenteritis can zap your energy. Be sure to rest when you can and get a good night’s sleep.
Make sure to wash your hands after visiting the washroom and before you touch food. Try not to prepare food for others until your symptoms improve. Make sure to not come in close contact with other people when you are ill.
If the symptoms are severe or persistent, the doctor may take a stool sample to identify the cause of the gastroenteritis. It is really crucial that you don’t end up losing too much salt such as potassium and sodium. Your body needs them in certain amounts to function smoothly. If you have an acute case of stomach infection, you may be admitted to the hospital and given salts and fluids intravenously. Antibiotics are administered in severe cases.
If your symptoms subside, wait for at least 48 hours before you resume work. A person should contact a doctor if his/her symptoms do not improve within a few days. It is possible that they have a different underlying condition. Prashanth Super Specialty Hospital, the best hospital for gastroenterology in Chennai, provides a comprehensive range of consultative and diagnostic procedures in gastroenterology. Our gastro specialists are pioneers in advanced minimally invasive diagnostic and surgical procedures.