Stomach ache? You might have gastroenteritis!
Gastroenteritis is a swelling or an infection in stomach’s and intestine’s mucosa, usually causing stomach ache, vomit, nausea and diarrhoea. And, in some cases, it can also make the patient suffer from fever and headache.
In developed countries where access to advanced medicines and sanitary means is granted, this disease is usually not serious and it often only causes a few days of malaise, so medical attention is not needed.
However, in some parts of the world, where there are no potable water nor adequate sanitary facilities, this illness can be lethal, especially among kids. In fact, according to World Health Organization’s data, gastroenteritis is the second more lethal disease among children younger than 5 years old.
Today, we want to give you some tips about how to avoid getting infected of gastroenteritis and, in case you had already contracted it, we will explain how to treat it at home.
This disease is caused by virus, parasites and bacteria that can be found in the faecal material of infected people. So, infection can happen when the patient consumes food or drinks that have previously been directly or indirectly in contact with contaminated faecal material.
Direct contact with an infected person is also a common way of getting gastroenteritis. So, if you suspect you might have it, you should stay away from kids, old people and those with a weak immune system, since they are the most vulnerable people to this sickness.
Viral gastroenteritis is probably the most common one among children, since it can easily spread in kindergartens and schools. It is difficult to prevent this disease to spread in such places, but taking the appropriate hygienic measures in those centres will help a lot. And, of course, if your kid is infected with gastroenteritis, make him stay at home. Taking him to the school could cause the disease’s outbreak to spread among his classroom mates.
Likewise, salmonella is another microorganism that can cause gastroenteritis. It is a bacterium that can be found in egg-derived products. It reproduces swiftly, so that is the reason why egg-made products should be eaten immediately after cooking them. Furthermore, this same advice is also applied to raw fish and shellfish.
Dairy products are also a common cause of gastroenteritis, especially in summer. Before consuming them, you should always make sure that they have been made with milk in good condition.
And besides, you should only drink treated water. This is particularly important in summer, since the heat and dehydration could make us drink from any source of water, without paying attention on whether it is potable or not. When you are in places where water comes to the taps without being treated previously, you should get used to use bottling water or boil it before drinking it or washing food with it.
If you start feeling the symptoms described above, you might be enduring gastroenteritis. If that is your case, do not eat for some hours. This will help your stomach to relax and settle.
Dehydration is one of the most serious problems derived from gastroenteritis, since liquids are constantly being expelled, but drinking too much liquid in a short time might make your stomach ache get worse. Therefore, the best you can do is to hydrate yourself by frequently drinking small sips.
Some dehydration symptoms are infrequent urinations, a dark colour in the urine, dizziness and daze. If you detected some of these signs, you will need medical attention, so call a doctor immediately.
In case you feel nausea, eat less but more often. Nevertheless, if you are starting to feel better, eat soft and easy-to-digest food first and progressively include more foods to your diet. And, if nausea come back, stop eating again.
Additionally, during the days you are sick, set dairy products, caffeine, alcohol and fatty foods aside.
And above all, your body will demand rest, so give it to it. You will have to understand that you will stay some days resting at home without going out.
Will you need medical assistance?
As we said before, gastroenteritis does not usually demand medical assistance. Since it usually is a mild disease that only lasts a few days, it can be healed at home with some rest and the appropriate care.
However, in some cases, gastroenteritis can get worse or persist for more than just two days. When this happened, it would be wise to let a doctor check you to make sure you are not enduring a severe disease.
But, how can you know when gastroenteritis is severe enough?
If your vomit and diarrhoea extend for more than two days, it might be something serious, so medical assistance might be needed. The same applies if your excrements had blood on them, if you had high fever, your stomach ache was more painful than usual, if you fainted or felt stunned and disoriented. As soon as you feel one of these symptoms, go to see a doctor. He will give you the appropriate treatment for you to swiftly recover.
Do you need a doctor? Then, trust Clínica Excelan. We care for your health, well-being and comfort. That is why we will look after you at home, your favourite restaurant, your hotel room or wherever you might need us… because you are our main priority.
And, if you are a tourist or expat in Marbella, do not worry about the language! We have English-speaking doctors and a highly fluent staff in a wide range of languages. Explain the matter to us in your mother tongue and we will give you the best medical attention in the whole Costa del Sol.
If you liked this post, we invite you to come back next week to find new useful medical advices. You can also visit our website to discover our wide range of health services and follow us on our social media!