Gastroenteritis is a common digestive disorder marked by vomiting and diarrhea. Also called the stomach flu, this contagious illness is caused by a viral or bacterial infection that irritates the stomach and intestines. The term “stomach flu” is actually a misnomer, as the illness has nothing to do with influenza, which is a respiratory viral infection. Gastroenteritis is caused by a group of viruses called “noroviruses” and can be contracted through contaminated food or water, or through contact with someone who is infected.
In addition to vomiting and watery diarrhea, common symptoms of stomach flu include:
- Stomach pain
- Abdominal cramping
- Fever and chills
While mild forms of gastroenteritis may last two to three days, the symptoms may persist for up to 10 days. In infants, this condition can be extremely serious. If your baby is vomiting, seems dehydrated or lethargic, or has bloody diarrhea, seek medical attention immediately.
The Dangers of Dehydration and Gastroenteritis
In addition to the symptoms of gastroenteritis, one of the most common – and dangerous – side effects is dehydration. Many people with the condition are unable to keep fluids down and vomiting and diarrhea sap valuable electrolytes from the body. Be especially vigilant for signs of dehydration if you are suffering from gastroenteritis. These include:
- Dry mouth
- Dark yellow urine
At Physician Partners of America, we know that gastroenteritis requires fast, effective treatment. Our expert team of doctors and medical professionals can diagnose your condition quickly and give you a treatment plan that meets your needs. From anti-nausea medication and intravenous fluids to a customized self-care plan to help you ease back into a normal diet, you can count on a comprehensive and customized gastroenteritis treatment plan when you visit our clinic locations.