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Have you ever had the "stomach flu?" What you probably had was gastroenteritis - not a type of flu at all. Gastroenteritis is an inflammation of the lining of the intestines caused by a virus, bacteria or parasites. Viral gastroenteritis is the second most common illness in the U.S. The cause is often a norovirus infection. It spreads through contaminated food or water, and contact with an infected person. The best prevention is frequent hand washing.
Symptoms of gastroenteritis include diarrhea, abdominal pain, vomiting, headache, fever and chills. Most people recover with no treatment.
The most common problem with gastroenteritis is dehydration. This happens if you do not drink enough fluids to replace what you lose through vomiting and diarrhea. Dehydration is most common in babies, young children, the elderly and people with weak immune systems.
NIH: National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases
- Probiotic Supplements Failed to Prevent Babies' Infections (07/03/2017, HealthDay)
Prevention and Risk Factors
- Hand Washing: Do's and Dont's (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research)
Treatments and Therapies
- Gastroenteritis: First Aid (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research)
- Stomach Flu: How Long Am I Contagious? (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research)
Journal Articles References and abstracts from MEDLINE/PubMed (National Library of Medicine)
- Article: Rotavirus antigen, cytokine, and neutralising antibody profiles in sera of...
- Article: Outbreak of diarrhoea among participants of a triathlon and a...
- Article: Prevalence and genetic diversity of rotavirus infection in children with...
- Gastroenteritis -- see more articles
- Gastroenteritis in adults -- see more articles
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- Stool Gram stain (Medical Encyclopedia) Also in Spanish
- Viral gastroenteritis (Medical Encyclopedia) Also in Spanish
- When you have nausea and vomiting (Medical Encyclopedia) Also in Spanish
- When you or your child has diarrhea (Medical Encyclopedia) Also in Spanish