Gastroenteritis is a nonspecific term given to any inflammation of the lining of the stomach and intestines. This inflammation can be from viruses, contaminated food, or adverse effects of medication. Travel outside of the USA may expose a person to unfamiliar bacteria in water and on fresh produce.
Signs and Symptoms
- Severe abdominal cramping
Usually the symptoms will resolve as soon as the body can rid itself of the irritant.
- Get plenty of rest
- Increase fluid intake to replace fluids lost through vomiting and diarrhea
For excessive vomiting:
- Don't eat for 2 - 3 hours to give your stomach a rest.
- Then start with sips of water and ice chips very slowly every 15 - 30 minutes.
- When this is tolerated, start flat carbonated beverages, weak tea, clear broth, jello, kool aid and gatoraide. Then progress as tolerated with the addition of other foods as described below.
- Usually a temporary change in diet is recommended to allow the lining of the intestinal tract to repair itself.
- Start with the above mentioned fluid replacement immediately.
- In progressive stages, the following may be added: crackers, dry toast, toast with jelly, rice, mashed potatoes without butter or milk.
- If these are tolerated, the diet on the following day may include a banana, soft boiled egg, clear soup, small amount of boiled chicken, and applesauce.
- Avoid all foods with milk products, fresh fruits, fresh vegetables, greasy or spicy foods until you are feeling better.
- It is important to wash your hands frequently with soap and water to prevent the spread of this infection to others.
You should be seen in the Health Center if:
- Temperature over 101
- Unable to keep down any liquids
- Severe stomach or abdominal pain
- Green, reddish or black diarrhea
- Red or coffee ground looking vomit
- If symptoms are mild yet prolonged in duration for more the three days
- Muscle weakness, paralysis, numbness