Gastroenteritis, also called stomach flu, is the inflammation of the stomach and the intestines. People who often experience the condition may feel unwell for a brief period. However, it’s a different case once they can’t consume food and spend most of their time in the bathroom.

At first, the disorder isn’t considered fatal. However, as the patient continues to lose their appetite, feel dehydrated, and develop electrolyte imbalance, the simple condition may turn into something deadly. Therefore, people must observe patients feeling the most common symptoms of it.

What Causes Gastroenteritis?

Rotavirus or norovirus are two of the most common causes of gastroenteritis. The latter is the most typical cause of acute gastroenteritis worldwide, responsible for 685 million cases per year. Meanwhile, other viruses, such as astrovirus and adenovirus, may also lead to gastrointestinal infection.

Gastroenteritis is a contagious condition. There have been a number of outbreaks in the past because the virus causing it spreads easily through person-to-person contact, contaminated food or water, infected surfaces, terrible hygiene, and closed quarters.

Common Gastroenteritis Symptoms

The culprit causing gastroenteritis can be viruses, bacteria, bacterial toxins, parasites, certain chemicals, and other drugs. Although no specific group of people is likely to acquire the condition, gastroenteritis can also affect children, which is dangerous as they can become dehydrated. 

The most common symptoms include diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, cramps, fever, and headache. They only manifest because the human body is trying to fight off the foreign organisms causing the condition. 

Meanwhile, some patients with more severe cases can experience extreme thirst, sunken eyes, dizziness, blurred vision, and dry mouth. The symptoms may worsen as the days go by. However, during the first two days, the patient should be brought to the emergency room for better observation.

Does Gastroenteritis Cause Food Poisoning?

Food poisoning causes gastroenteritis. Contaminated food items will infect a person’s stomach and intestines after consumption. On average, people contract food poisoning by eating raw eggs and meat, unpasteurized cheeses or milk, raw seafood and shellfish, leftover rice, and unwashed food and vegetables. The symptoms of food poisoning are similar to gastroenteritis and can manifest within an hour to the next seven days after.

How to Prevent Catching the Stomach Flu

Practicing good hygiene could be your best defense against stomach flu. The simple act of thoroughly washing your hands is a good way to kill the viruses that may infect the stomach and the intestines. Also, remember to sanitize surfaces that most people touch.

Meanwhile, it’s best not to consume raw food or touch them with bare hands before cooking. If possible, keep perishable food items in the refrigerator until it’s time to use or eat them. Also, remember that vaccines work! Talk to your doctor about possible shots that can help children avoid getting sick with gastroenteritis.


If someone close to you catches gastroenteritis, it’s best to isolate them to avoid passing the virus to others. There isn’t a specific medicine that works to treat the condition as it heals on its own. However, people experience faster recovery by keeping themselves hydrated through drinking fluids and electrolytes. Of course, keeping their body healthy by providing them with the correct sustenance is integral. Gastroenteritis isn’t scary, so long as you know what to do about it. By following the necessary steps to avoid and survive it, you’ll be on your way to recovery faster than you think.

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