Gastroenteritis, also called infectious diarrhea, is one of the communicable diseases people know today. It refers to the inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract, which covers the stomach and the small intestine. It usually presents loose bowel movements, diarrhea, and fever, which may affect a person’s daily activities. The following are the causes, signs and symptoms, and home remedies for gastroenteritis.
Gastroenteritis involves digestive tract inflammation, which is caused by a virus called rotavirus. In some adult cases, as per NHS UK,the disease is due to bacterial food poisoning or norovirus, also called “winter vomiting bug.” According to Southern Cross Medical Care Society, the condition may also be due to parasitic infection, but the usual causes include Salmonella, Capylobacter, and Escherichia coli (E. coli), aside from rotavirus and norovirus. As per the publication, the microorganisms that cause gastroenteritis are transmitted through contaminated food and water, as well as direct contact from one person to another.
Signs and Symptoms
Gastroenteritis presents several symptoms. According to Mayo Clinic, these include low-grade fever, occasional muscle aches or headache, nausea, vomiting, and watery or nonbloody diarrhea. As per the publication, presence of blood in the stools may indicate a more severe infection. It is vital to seek immediate medical attention if the person loses fluids through diarrhea for 24 hours, vomiting persists for two days, blood is present in the vomitius (or stools), fever goes as high as 40 degrees Celsius, and signs of dehydration like excessive thirst, scanty and concentrated urine, dizziness, dry mouth, severe weakness, and lightheadedness are present.
Gastroentertis treatment usually involves supportive management or symptom management, in addition to the use of antibiotics if the cause is bacterial in nature. The following home remedies can also be done as supportive interventions for the condition.
Apple Cider Vineger
One remedy for gastroenteritis is apple cider vinegar or ACV. According to Top 10 Home Remedies, it relieves gastroenteritis symptoms by promoting the right gastric pH level while removing harmful toxins or substances from the body. In addition, apple cider vinegar contains high levels of pectin, which soothes gastric irritation and pain, as well as nausea, vomiting, and gas. To prepare, the person adds a teaspoon of organic and unfiltered raw apple cider vinegar to a glass of warm water. Then, he drinks it 30 minutes prior to eating his meal. The remedy can be done regularly to relieve the symptoms. As an option, the person may add a teaspoon of the vinegar to a glass of grape juice; the preparation is consumed twice a day for a few days.
Banana in BRAT Diet
In gastroenteritis, potassium is lost due to the passage of watery stools and this will cause muscle weakness and potential cardiac arrhythmias and alteration in mental function. According to Health Line, eating bananas facilitates potassium replacement following diarrhea and vomiting. The other components of the BRAT diet are rice, which is rich in fiber and energy; apple, which also provides energy with its carbohydrates and sugar; and toast. For the latter, white bread is preferred, since whole-wheat bread is fiber-rich and it may put stress on the digestive system because it is harder to digest.
Aside from drinking clean or cooled boiled water, drinking carbonated beverages is also one of the remedies for gastroenteritis. As per Organic Facts, the exact mechanism is still unknown, but these beverages help relieve gastric upset and nausea. Examples of carbonated drinks include ginger ale, soda water, and sparkling water.
Overall, gastroenteritis involves the inflammation of the digestive tract and it presents symptoms that may interfere with a person’s activities of daily living. Thus, it is vital to seek medical consult with a doctor for adequate assessment, goal-setting, intervention, education, and evaluation.