Viral gastroenteritis is an infection which will cause diarrhoea and vomiting. It happens when a person’s stomach and intestines get infected with a virus. Both adults and children can get viral gastroenteritis.
People can get the infection if they:
• Touch an infected person or a surface with the virus on that, and so don’t wash their hands
• Eat foods or drink liquids with the virus into them. If people with the virus don’t wash their hands, they’ll increase it to food or liquids they touch.
The infection causes diarrhoea and vomiting. People can have either diarrhoea or vomiting, or both. These symptoms usually start suddenly, and might be severe.
Viral gastroenteritis may cause:
• A fever
• A headache or muscle aches
• Belly pain or cramping
• A loss of appetite
If you have diarrhoea and vomiting, your body can lose an excessive amount of water. Gastroenterologist s describe this “dehydration.” Dehydration can make you have dark yellow urine and feel thirsty, tired, dizzy, or confused.
Severe dehydration is life-threatening. Babies, young children, and elderly people are more likely to get severe dehydration.
Not usually. Your Gastroenterologist should be able to diagnose based on your symptoms and doing an examination. But the Gastroenterologist might do tests to check for dehydration or to see which virus is causing the infection. These tests can include:
• Blood tests
• Urine tests
• Tests on a sample of bowel movement
Call the Gastroenterologist or nurse if you or your child:
• Has any symptoms of dehydration
• Has diarrhoea or vomiting that lasts longer than some days
• Vomits up blood, has bloody diarrhoea, or has severe belly pain
• Hasn’t had anything to drink in a few hours (for children), or in many hours (for adults)
• Hasn’t needed to urinate in the past 6 to 8 hours (during the day), or if your baby or young child hasn’t had a wet diaper for 4 to 6 hours
Most people don’t need any treatment, because their symptoms will get better on their own. But people with severe dehydration might need treatment in the hospital for their dehydration. This involves getting fluids through an “IV” (a thin tube that goes into the vein).
Gastroenterologist do not treat viral gastroenteritis with antibiotics. That’s because antibiotics treat infections that are caused by bacteria – not viruses.