Viral gastroenteritis is an intestinal infection marked by watery diarrhea, abdominal cramps, nausea or vomiting, and sometimes fever. The most common way to develop viral gastroenteritis — often called stomach flu —is through contact with an infected person or by ingesting contaminated food or water. If you're otherwise healthy, you'll likely recover without complications. But for infants, older adults and people with compromised immune systems, viral gastroenteritis can be deadly.
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Gastroenteritis | Stomach (Gut) Infection | Symptoms, Causes & Prevention | Patient
In most cases, people with viral gastroenteritis get better on their own without medical treatment. You can treat viral gastroenteritis by replacing lost fluids and electrolytes to prevent dehydration. In some cases, over-the-counter medicines may help relieve your symptoms. Research shows that following a restricted diet does not help treat viral gastroenteritis. When you have viral gastroenteritis, you may vomit after you eat or lose your appetite for a short time. When your appetite returns, you can most often go back to eating your normal diet, even if you still have diarrhea. Find tips on what to eat when you have viral gastroenteritis.
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Medically reviewed by Drugs. Last updated on Feb 25, Gastroenteritis is an inflammation of the intestines that causes diarrhea, abdominal cramps, nausea, loss of appetite, and other symptoms of digestive upset. In adults, the two most common causes of gastroenteritis are viral and bacterial infections:. Each year in the United States, millions of people develop gastroenteritis by eating contaminated food, while millions more suffer from mild bouts of viral gastroenteritis.
Rotavirus, a highly contagious virus, was the most common cause of infectious gastroenteritis stomach flu among infants and children before vaccinations were introduced in Adults can also be infected with rotavirus, although they usually have milder symptoms. The infection often resolves on its own within a week, but the associated nausea and vomiting can cause dehydration.