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What is Gastroenteritis?

Gastroenteritis happens when a patient’s intestines and stomach become irritated and inflamed. It can also be referred to as a stomach bug. Gastroenteritis is extremely contagious and passes from an infected person or consuming contaminated food or water. Visit AFC Urgent Care Saugus if you believe you may have gastroenteritis. While there is no treatment for viral cases, your doctor can help prescribe medication to help with symptoms

Symptoms of Gastroenteritis

Gastroenteritis only affects your stomach and digestive system, so if you have symptoms such as a cough or congestion, you may have another illness. Common signs of gastroenteritis include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Abdominal pain
  • Muscle aches or headache
  • Fever

With viral gastroenteritis, symptoms typically begin one to three days after exposure. They normally only last a few days, but some symptoms can last up to a week. 

When to See a Doctor

While gastroenteritis is relatively harmless for healthy adults, it can be life-threatening for those who are immunocompromised. Babies and the elderly can also experience severe symptoms. It’s important for infants to see a doctor if they have a fever over 102 degrees, they’re in a lot of discomfort or pain, or are experiencing dehydration symptoms. Additionally, seek medical attention right away if they do not stop vomiting for several hours, they are unusually sleepy, or they have severe diarrhea. 

In adults, visit AFC Urgent Care Saugus if you are unable to keep liquids down, your vomiting has lasted more than 2 days, you have a fever over 104 degrees, or you are dehydrated. 

Treatment Options

Since viral gastroenteritis is caused by a virus, there is no specific treatment for it. Physicians at AFC Saugus can provide information on remedies to help subside the symptoms. For example, certain foods can help to settle the stomach, and be sure to avoid dairy products, alcohol, and fatty foods, as they can upset the stomach. Additionally, some medications can also upset the stomach further or cause liver toxicity. 

The best way to avoid gastroenteritis is to take preventative measures from ever getting it initially. A vaccine is available to protect against severe symptoms of gastroenteritis. Be sure to call AFC Saugus before visiting to ensure availability. Wash your hands thoroughly and frequently if living with someone who has the virus. Additionally, try to avoid using the same bathroom, if possible. This is the most common way to spread the virus. Disinfect hard surfaces frequently, especially doorknobs, countertops, and toilets.