2023 Author: Anita Thornton | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-11-27 18:44
We fear her and with good reason. The simple fact of evoking it makes us nauseous… Unfortunately, gastroenteritis does not usually call before inviting itself to our home.
Commonly known as gastro, gastroenteritis is an infection of the digestive system that causes nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps and diarrhea. Usually it is short-lived and although extremely unpleasant, it is not dangerous.
To know it better, avoid it and treat it, here are ten questions about gastro.
Gastroenteritis is caused by a virus
TRUE. Gastro is most commonly caused by a virus, but it can also be caused by a parasite or bacteria.
Thus, many viruses can be involved, such as norovirus (or calicivirus), which are more often responsible for gastrointestinal outbreaks in adults. As for children, it is above all the rotavirus that affects them, since it is responsible for half of the cases of gastroenteritis in young people.
Infection caused by a parasite occurs after ingesting larvae or eggs (which can, for example, be found in water or on certain foods). Theparasites then develop in the intestine, which leads to inflammation of the latter.
Gastro can also be caused by bacteria, such as Salmonella, Campylobacter, Shigella, E.coli, Vibrio, Yersinia and Clostridium difficile. In these cases, it may last longer and require hospitalization.
Vomiting and diarrhea are the only symptoms
FALSE. Vomiting and diarrhea are often the main symptoms of gastroenteritis, but they are not the alone. Viral gastroenteritis causes loss of appetite, nausea, fatigue and sometimes mild fever.
Gastroenteritis is contracted by contact with an infected person
TRUE. But viral gastroenteritis can also be contracted by contact with a contaminated object. This is called the “faecal-oral” route. In short, if you touch a contagious person, or a contaminated object and then bring your hands to your face or mouth, or cook without washing and disinfecting your hands, you are at great risk of contracting the disease yourself. Viral gastroenteritis is highly contagious.
Bacterial gastroenteritis is usually contracted by food poisoning.
You stop being contagious as soon as the symptoms end
FALSE. As we mentioned, gastro is very contagious. The affected person is contagious as soon as the first symptoms appear (lightning, these appearquickly and can last from 24 to 60 hours, on average). The patient remains contagious 48 hours after the complete disappearance of symptoms.
There is no medicine to cure gastroviral
TRUE. Time alone solves things: taking medication does not cure viral gastroenteritis. However, complementary approaches can help relieve symptoms, such as taking probiotics.
Most people recover within 1-3 days. The important thing is to stay hydrated, since dehydration is the main danger related to inflammation. That being said, rehydrating is not always easy when you suffer from vomiting and nausea. Thus, it is advisable to wait at least an hour (30 minutes for children) after vomiting before drinking. Opt for a rehydration solution (like Pedialyte or Gastrolyte), and encourage them to drink small sips.
In the infant, electrolyte rehydration solution can be given using a spoon. Thus, 5 to 15 ml are given at a time, 30 minutes after vomiting. If the child starts to vomit again, we wait another 30 minutes, and we start again.
Children are particularly at risk
TRUE. This is unfortunately true, especially if they are around other children, at daycare, for example. Their immune system is not yet mature and they are used to mouthing everything. According to the SocietyCanadian Pediatrics Association, a child under 5 suffers from diarrhea on average 2, 2 times a year.
Person-to-person contamination cannot be prevented
FALSE. Not impossible…but definitely not easy! Despite all the goodwill of the parents, when the gastro invites itself, it is often to visit all the members of the family! Here are some basic preventative measures:
- Wash your hands and your child's hands regularly with soap and water, especially before eating and after changing a diaper.
- Immediately wash clothes, bedding and all objects soiled by diarrhea or vomiting.
- Clean the toilet and sink with bleach.
- Avoid sharing utensils, bath towels and take care to store toothbrushes separately, until 48 hours after the disappearance of symptoms.
Of course, we always avoid contact with sick people.
After vomiting stops, wait 24 hours before eating solids
FALSE. Doctors advise eating as soon as your appetite returns. Certain foods should be avoided, since they may further irritate the stomach. We therefore avoid dairy products, fruit juices, raw fruits and vegetables (with the exception of bananas, which we eat in small quantities), anything that is spicy, sweet, fatty or that contains a lot of fiber.
The important thing is hydration. A broth or a light soup, accompanied by a rusk of white bread, could be a good first meal.
It is important to closely monitor affected children
TRUE. Children become dehydrated quickly. If the following symptoms occur, it is important to consult:
- He shows signs of dehydration: dry diapers, dark circles in the eyes and as if "sunken" in the sockets, the mouth and lips are dry, he cries, but don't shed tears, the fontanelles are deeper than usual.
- You find traces of blood in the stool.
- It's hard to wake up the baby.
- The child has been vomiting for several hours now.
- He has a fever over 38.5°C (101.3°F).
- His breathing is rapid, panting.
There is a vaccine to prevent viral gastroenteritis
TRUE. It is estimated that 95% of children under the age of 5 will be affected at least once by rotavirus. Since 2006, a vaccine against rotavirus gastroenteritis has been available. The first dose should be given before the 20th week and the last no later than the eighth month. This vaccine is given orally in 2 or 3 doses and protects for two years. The vaccine obviously does not protect against other types of gastroenteritis.
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