What is viral gastroenteritis?
- Viral gastroenteritis is condition in which there is an inflammation and irritation of intestines occur that may be caused by viruses infection, most commonly include norovirus or rotavirus. This illness is also known by the name of stomach flu.
- This is a contagious condition that spreads through close contact with people who have the virus or through contaminated food or water.
What are the symptoms of viral gastroenteritis?
Symptoms of gastroenteritis occur shortly after infection. For example, symptoms caused by norovirus typically develop within 12 to 48 hour. Symptoms from adenoviruses is noticed after 3 to 10 days after contact.
Symptoms can include:
- nausea and vomiting
- headache, muscle aches, or joint aches
- loose, watery diarrhea
- fever with chills
- sweating or clammy skin
- abdominal pain
- loss of appetite
There is condition of medical emergency if:
- diarrhea remains for 2 days or more without getting less frequent
- there is bloody diarrhea
- your infant develops diarrhea
- you show or see signs of dehydration, such as sunken eyes , dry lips or dizziness
Prevalence of Viral Gastroenteritis
Viral gastroenteritis affects people of all age group. But there are some factors that can increase the risk of contracting viral gastroenteritis. People who are at a higher risk include:
- children under the age of 5
- older adults,
- people with a compromised immune system
- those who are part of schools, day care, religious gatherings, and other indoor group settings
What causes viral gastroenteritis?
Viral gastroenteritis is caused by different viruses. This virus can transmit through
- taking contaminated food or drinking contaminated water
- Using contaminated utensils or other items
- touching contaminated surfaces
- not washing or sanitizing hands properly
Other factors that may also contribute in causing viral gastroenteritis include:
- being malnourished, mainly low levels of vitamin A or zinc
- antibiotic or antacid use
- anal intercourse
Various viruses can cause viral gastroenteritis. The most common include:
Detail of these viruses
- Rotavirus infection is commonly seen in infants and young children. Those who come in contact with this virus then can pass the virus to other children and adults. It’s usually transmitted via the mouth.
- Symptoms of rota virus infection occur within 2 days of infection and include:
- Loss of appetite
- Watery diarrhea that lasts from 3 to 9 days
- So early vaccination is recommended to prevent severe rotavirus illnesses in infants and small children.
- Norovirus is highly contagious and can affect people in any age. It transmits through contaminated water ,food and surfaces, or by people who have the virus. Norovirus is common in crowded spaces.Symptoms include:
- Nausea & Diarrhea
- body aches
- The adenovirus affects people of all ages. It can lead to several types of illness, including gastroenteritis. The adenovirus can also cause Symptoms like common cold which include
- Adenovirus spread through the air while sneezing and coughing, by touching contaminated objects, or by touching the hands of infected person with the virus. Symptoms associated with adenovirus include:
- Runny nose
- sore throat
- Redness in eyes
- Sneezing & coughing
- Astrovirus commonly causes gastroenteritis in children. Symptoms associated with astrovirus include:
- mild dehydration
- stomach pain
- The virus mostly affects people in late winters and early spring.
What are the complications of viral gastroenteritis?
The main complication of viral gastroenteritis is dehydration, which can be mild to severe in babies and young children.
Other complications that are notice in people of viral gastroenteritis include:
- muscle weakness
- nutritional imbalances
- body weakness or fatigue
Dehydration can lead to several complications of its own. These may include:
- brain swelling
- hypovolemic shock
- kidney failure
To prevent complications, immediate medical attention required if there is any symptoms of dehydration.
Diagnosis of gastroenteritis
- This condition is diagnosed by medical history and physical examination.
- Your doctor may also go for stool sample that will help to test for the type of virus, or to find out if your illness is caused by a parasitic or bacterial infection.
How is viral gastroenteritis treated?
- Treatment is mainly done prevent dehydration by drinking plenty of fluids. In severe cases, hospital care is necessary.
- Over-the-counter oral rehydration solutions (OHS) can be helpful in mild cases.
- Antibiotics have no effect on viruses.
Treating diarrhea and vomiting
- Diarrhea can be treated with over-the-counter medications like loperamide (Imodium)
- Also probiotics can be prescribed to replace the healthy bacteria that’s lost during diarrhea or they may prescribe medications to treat severe vomiting.
What to eat and what to avoid
As you start to feel better , you should add foods into your diet, it’s best to opt for bland foods, such as:
These foods are easy to digest and do not cause further stomach upset.
Until you get completely fit , you should avoid some types of foods, like:
- sugary foods
- fatty or fried foods
- dairy products
Some Self-care steps
By following some self-care measures you can ease your symptoms and prevent dehydration:
- Drink extra fluids with and between meals.
- Avoid fruit juices. These don’t replace the minerals that you’ve lost and can actually increase diarrhea.
- Electrolytes. Younger children and infants should use formulated products like OHS.
- Get lots of rest. Get good quality of sleep of 7-8 hours each night. Don’t exert yourself in any work until you feel that you have your usual level of energy and strength.
- Medications. Consult with doctor before taking any kind of medications or giving them to children. Never use aspirin for children or teenagers with a viral illness.
Ayurvedic treatment of viral gastroenteritis
Chandigarh Ayurved centre provides effective combination of medicines that are used to viral gastoentritis . These medications not only treat the symptoms but also cure this condition completely.
- Liver care tablet
- Sheet Dhara syrup
- Kutaj ghan vati
- Giloy capsule
- Kapha powder
- Amrit tulsi ras
These medications contains unique blend of herbs that are effectively use to treat any kind of infection. By using this one can completely treat viral gastroenteritis.
For more details you can visit our website
Dr. Vaidya Karanvir Singh is the younger Vaidya in Chandigarh Ayurved & Panchakarma Centre. He is the fourth generation in his family who is practicing as a general consultant in Ayurved & Panchakarma treatment at Chandigarh. In his practice, he had treated more than 1 Lakh Plus patients worldwide.