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Gastroenteritis – The Stomach Flu



Gastroenteritis is more commonly known as stomach flu. This is a condition wherein there is inflammation and infection of the stomach or the intestines, sometimes even both. Most cases of gastroenteritis are contagious, mainly if it’s been brought about by a viral or bacterial infection. However, the spread of the disease can easily be controlled by maintaining a clean environment.

Mode of Transmission

Some bacteria and viruses can cause gastroenteritis. These pathogenic organisms are usually carried into the house and onto the food by inconspicuous creatures such as the cockroaches, flies, and rats.

These pests are known foragers of food, and they usually forage for food in dumpsters and garbage areas. Here, they pick up millions of these gastroenteritis-causing pathogenic organisms and carry them into your home when they look for more food. When they come into contact with food or your drinking water, it automatically becomes contaminated with the pathogenic organisms they’re carrying. If you ingested something infected, the pathogenic microorganisms will enter your body and wreak havoc to your gastrointestinal system.

Signs and Symptoms

The most common signs and symptoms of gastroenteritis include stomach upset as well as diarrhea and vomiting. The person may also experience vomiting and fever, as well as severe abdominal cramps. These symptoms typically go away and resolve on its own after a couple of days to a week. However, if the victim has been an immature or weak immune system, then the symptoms will be exacerbated. After all, the juvenile or weakened immune system will not be able to fight off the infection, worsening the symptoms.

If the victim did not receive appropriate and prompt medical attention, it could lead to severe complications such as dehydration as well as colitis, a condition typical to Clostridium difficile infection. This condition involves not only a disease of the colon but also the loss of blood supply to the area. There will also be bloody stools in his diarrhea, as well as painful abdominal cramps. If left untreated, the patient could die.


Gastroenteritis, although contagious and easily acquired, is self-limiting. This means that the symptoms will typically go away after a few days and won’t require any medication or treatment. As long as the victim stays hydrated, he’ll be okay.

However, if the disease necessitated a trip to the hospital, the victim will be placed on antibiotics as well as IV hydration to prevent dehydration. Stool culture may also be done to identify the causative agent so that proper antibiotics may be given. This is usually done if the victim does not respond to the first-line antibiotic treatment.

Preventing Gastroenteritis

As mentioned earlier, gastroenteritis can easily be prevented by proper hygiene and frequent hand washing, especially after using the bathroom, eating, and cooking foods. You should also wash food produce thoroughly before cooking them or storing them in the freezer. You also need to prepare the food adequately. The high temperature will kill off any remaining pathogenic organisms. Finally, see to it that your home is always clean and free from pests.

If you have pests at home, such as rodents, cockroaches, and flies, then don’t hesitate to get in touch with your local pest control company to get rid of them.