Gastroenteritis is stomach flu characterised by watery diarrhoea and intense abdominal pain. It is usually caused by a bacterial or viral infection transmitted via food or water. Gastroenteritis is common in both children and adults.

Signs and symptoms

Gastroenteritis presents as watery diarrhoea, abdominal pain and cramps, nausea, vomiting, bloating and sometimes fever.

Causes and risk factors

Gastroenteritis is usually caused by a bacteria or virus contaminating the food or water consumed by the patient. It could also be a result of sub-par hand-washing practices. Infants and geriatric patients are especially vulnerable to Gastroenteritis. Patients with weakened immune systems are also at risk.


The risk of dehydration is the main complication to watch out for while suffering from gastroenteritis. Be sure to replace fluids and salts lost in vomiting and diarrhoea. In extreme cases, intravenous hydration may be necessary.


Gastroenteritis is diagnosed based on symptoms, patient medical history and a physical exam. If it is necessary to identify the cause of infection, the doctor may prescribe a stool sample test.

Treatment and Surgical Interventions

There is no treatment for viral gastroenteritis, so rest and fluids are recommended. For bacterial gastroenteritis, the doctor may prescribe antibiotics and also some general probiotics and vitamins.


The best way to prevent the contraction of gastroenteritis is to vaccinate and practice good hygiene. This is more critical in public or shared spaces and while travelling.


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