Gastroenteritis: Know the Symptoms, Causes & Treatment


Gastroenteritis: Know the Symptoms, Causes & Treatment

Also known as stomach flu, Gastroenteritis causes inflammation and irritation to the intestines and the stomach. As a result, the patient experiences diarrhoea, vomiting, dehydration, and nausea. Gastroenteritis is common in children, adults, and infants. To know what is gastroenteritis, read on.

Viral gastroenteritis is highly contagious and can easily spread from one person to another. If you come in close contact with someone who has the viral gastroenteritis virus, you may catch the same. Usually, people with good immune systems can recover in some time. Those with weakened immune systems specially the elderly people and infants, may suffer from acute gastroenteritis, which can be life-threatening.

Generally, immediate gastroenteritis treatment can help in fast recovery; some cases may need  hospitalisation as well. You will be amazed to know that your comprehensive health insurance plan takes care of the hospitalisation expenses incurred due to Gastroenteritis.

Symptoms of Viral Gastroenteritis

Unlike influenza, which affects the respiratory organs of the body, viral gastroenteritis affects the intestines and stomach. A patient may experience the following gastroenteritis symptoms:

  • Watery diarrhoea. In some cases, diarrhoea may last over a day or two. In such a situation, you must not delay a visit to your doctor.
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Cramps and pain in stomach and abdomens
  • Low-grade fever
  • Chills
  • Body aches
  • Appetite loss
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Muscle pain or headache (occasional)

Usually, the symptoms may start to appear after 1-3 days coming to the contact of the virus. One may experience gastroenteritis symptoms for 1-2 days in mild cases, and those with acute gastroenteritis may show symptoms for up to 14 days. If you notice severe problems, it is highly advised to consult a doctor.

What causes Stomach Flu/Gastroenteritis?

Multiple types of virus can cause gastroenteritis. Depending on the virus, the type of gastroenteritis can be treated. If talking about stomach flu, Rotavirus and norovirus are the main viruses known for causing flu. Let's check out the various gastroenteritis causes:


Rotavirus commonly causes stomach flu in children below the age of 3. This is the reason why adults don't usually get rotavirus, as they have immunity against it. Also, the vaccine for the same is now available.


Norovirus is the most common gastroenteritis virus affecting more than half of adult gastroenteritis patients. The norovirus is also more resilient to disinfectants as compared to other gastroenteritis-causing viruses.


Usually, adenovirus causes respiratory problems. On consumption, the virus may cause gastroenteritis as well.


Astrovirus is responsible to cause gastroenteritis especially in children below the age of 3.

Anyone can fall sick due to gastroenteritis. The resistance and recovery of the body depend on how healthy your immune system is. Children, infants, and older people are at higher risk of gastroenteritis.

>> Also Read: Beware! Your Bathing Habits Can Impact Your Digestion

What are the Treatments Available for Gastroenteritis?

A very sure shot treatment for gastroenteritis is not yet available. Usually, people recover within a week or two. Your body is built in a way that it gets rid of gastroenteritis on its own. In case of extreme dehydration, some may need medical assistance like intravenous fluids. However, there is no medicine for stomach flu. Generally, there is no effect of antibiotics in the viruses causing viral gastroenteritis since it can treat bacteria, not viruses.

As a part of gastroenteritis treatment you are advised  take proper rest  at least for a week or so. Try to consume sufficient fluid to avoid dehydration. As  dehydration can delay the recovery process, a small amount of liquid in intervals is recommended. 

As the stomach flu symptoms start to fade and you start gaining some energy, you may gradually follow the regular diet.

However, it is strictly NO to caffeine, milk, and alcohol until fit again.

Viral Gastroenteritis Preventive Measures

Even if you are recovered from gastroenteritis, this will leave your body weal and tired.  So, it is better to be a little careful. Here are some of the preventive measures against gastroenteritis:

  • Do not drink water or eat food from unknown sources. Always be sure of the quality of food or fluid intake.
  • Keep washing your hands. It is very important for any diseases, especially those caused by viruses. When you return home from outside, before eating food, and after you have touched a contaminated surface, make sure to wash your hands.
  • Do not come in close contact with someone you know is having gastroenteritis symptoms. Also, if you have caught stomach flu, step out and meet people only after you have fully recovered.
  • Keep your surroundings and home clean. Use disinfectants on surfaces that come in the most contact with people.
  • If you have an infant, always wash your hands after disposing of diapers and stool of your baby
  • Last but not least, maintain a healthy lifestyle with proper exercise and good food.

In a Nutshell

To stay healthy, it is extremely important to maintain proper hygiene. It will not only help in keeping off gastroenteritis but a majority of other diseases as well. Gastroenteritis affects millions of people every year, across the globe. While the disease is usually curable by the body itself, some patients may need intravenous fluids and hospitalisation care due to extreme dehydration and weakness.

In order to cover the medical expenses without any burden, you can rely on the health insurance plan from Care Health Insurance.  These days comprehensive health plans cover a long list of daycare treatments as well. Check the available options and compare the plans to choose the best one for yourself.

Disclaimers: The above information is for reference purposes only: Policy Assurance and Claims at the underwriter's discretion.

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