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Viral Gastroenteritis

What is viral gastroenteritis?

Viral gastroenteritis, which is an inflammation of the stomach and small intestine lining, is caused by a variety of viruses including norovirus and rotavirus. Often called the stomach flu (although not related to the influenza virus), it results in vomiting and diarrhea.

What are the signs and symptoms?

  • Watery diarrhea
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Headache
  • Fever
  • Stomach pain and abdominal cramps

How is viral gastroenteritis spread?

Viral gastroenteritis is spread through close contact with infected persons or from touching surfaces or objects contaminated with the virus and then putting your fingers in your mouth. Individuals may also become infected by eating or drinking contaminated foods or beverages. 

How do you prevent gastroenteritis? 

To prevent becoming infected with viral gastroenteritis:

  • Wash your hands especially after using the toilet and before preparing food.
  • Wash all fruits and vegetables and be sure to cook seafood thoroughly.
  • Clean and disinfect all surfaces.
  • Wash all clothing and bedding possibly exposed to viral gastroenteritis.

How do you diagnose and treat gastroenteritis?

Viral gastroenteritis is diagnosed by a physician upon medical examination of the patient. Rotavirus infection can be diagnosed by laboratory testing of a stool specimen. The most important and main treatment for gastroenteritis is to prevent dehydration, which can commonly occur.