Gastroenteritis refers to the inflammation of the stomach and the intestines. A wide variety of viruses can lead to viral gastroenteritis. The disorder is characterized by vomiting, diarrhea or both. This disease is often referred to as “stomach flu,” although it is not associated with the influenza viruses.
Rotaviruses, noroviruses, adenoviruses, type 40 or 41, sapoviruses, and astroviruses are some of the many varieties of viruses that lead to the development of this disorder. No other parasites such as bacteria are found to cause stomach flu.
The main symptoms of viral gastroenteritis include watery diarrhea and severe vomiting. In most cases, one of these two symptoms is found to predominate. The affected person is also likely to suffer from headache, fever, and abdominal cramps.
In most cases, the symptoms get initiated within a couple of days after the infection. Diarrhea and vomiting might last to a maximum period of twelve days, depending upon the kind of viral infection caused. However, some people are found to recuperate from the disease within three days time.
Viral gastroenteritis does not result in serious health complications in most cases. Long-term health hazards are least likely.
However, it should be strictly ensured that the water content lost from the body is replaced. It is important to increase the intake of water and other nutritious fluids.
Infants, younger children and the elderly are found to be more vulnerable to dehydration caused by constant loss of water from the body.
It should be kept in mind that viral gastroenteritis is highly contagious. Strict vigilance need to be taken in order to prevent the disorder from being transmitted.
Outbreaks of this disorder are mostly caused by eating or drinking of contaminated foods and beverages.
The viruses that cause gastroenteritis also are found to be transmitted through close contact with the patient. Such a transmission of the disease mainly occurs through contaminated stool or vomit.