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Stomach Flu is on Prince of Wales, Here's Everything You Need to Know About the Stomach Flu

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I've received several reports now that a stomach flu has hit the Island and unfortunately yours truly also got it. At first I thought it was food poisoning but it didn't go away, so after some digging here is everything you need to know:

The stomach flu (gastroenteritis) is a nonspecific term for various inflammatory problems in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract.


Gastroenteritis may be of short duration (acute viral) or for many months (chronic gastroenteritis, such as that caused by food allergies).
Signs and symptoms of stomach flu depend on the cause.
The most frequent signs and symptoms of viral stomach flu include

  • diarrhea,
  • nausea, and
  • vomiting.

Signs and symptoms of bacterial stomach flu include

fever, and
bloodied diarrhea (hemorrhagic gastroenteritis).
Food allergies may produce eosinophilic gastroenteritis, a sign of which is increased eosinophils (a type of white blood cell) seen in the blood. 
Children with the stomach flu or gastroenteritis have similar symptoms to adults, but also may have symptoms such as refusing to drink or being very thirsty. 
The main way contagious causes of the stomach flu are spread is person to person via the fecal-oral route. Individuals at most risk of catching the stomach flu are those in close association with an infant, child, or an adult that has a viral or bacterial cause of stomach flu .
Contagious gastroenteritis is spread or transmitted usually by the fecal – oral route or by eating or drinking contaminated foods.

Non-contagious causes of gastroenteritis include food allergies, parasites, drugs, toxins, or the side effects of medications.

The most common causes of gastroenteritis are infectious, mainly viral (for example, Norovirus, Rotavirus and many others). The large majority of causes gastroenteritis disease (mainly viral and bacterial) are contagious



Are the stomach flu (gastroenteritis) and food poisoning the same condition?


Although the stomach flu and food poisoning share some common symptoms such as diarrhea, nausea and vomiting, stomach cramps, muscle aches, for example, they are not exactly the same condition.

Stomach flu or gastroenteritis means any nonspecific inflammatory problem in the gastrointestinal tract; some doctors consider the stomach flu to be more narrowly defined as a viral infection that attacks the digestive system.
Food poisoning specifically is caused by eating or drinking contaminated food or fluid that contains bacteria, viruses, parasites and/or their toxins they produce.
Consequently, there is some crossover between the two terms.

In addition:

Food poisoning usually is found in small outbreaks that occur among individuals that have ingested the same foods or drink, and symptoms occur rapidly within hours; whereas the stomach flu has a more gradual onset of symptoms and usually lasts longer than food poisoning.

Stomach flu is highly contagious and can be spread quickly to other individuals; whereas food poisoning usually requires ingesting the poison and does not easily spread to other individuals.

How is the stomach flu (gastroenteritis) spread?


Most viral and bacterial causes of the stomach flu can be transfer to other people by direct and indirect contact, usually by the fecal - oral route.

Direct contact could involve an infant's hand touching feces-contaminated surfaces and then touching a sibling or relative; indirect contact would be like touching a door knob or railing on a cruise ship or in a dorm that is contaminated and the person touches the contaminated surface and transfers the agent by touching their mouth.
Another common way to get stomach flu is drinking or eating contaminated foods and liquids.

Viral causes of stomach flu


The most prevalent cause of gastroenteritis in the U.S. and the world is Norovirus. It causes about 50% to 70% of viral gastroenteritis cases, while Rotavirus, Astrovirus, Adenovirus, and Sapovirus strains cause most of the other viral gastroenteritis infections. Norovirus also was listed as the leading cause of gastroenteritis in children under 5 years old according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

What causes stomach flu (gastroenteritis)?


Bacteria and viruses - infectious agents - (the most common cause) are the most frequent causes of gastroenteritis in the U.S. and worldwide. Infections cause diarrhea and other symptoms by causing inflammation of the gastrointestinal (GI) tissue. The infections increase the fluid content in the intestines and colon by changing the gastrointestinal tract's ability to absorb water and by increasing the speed of transit (motility) for things you ingest. This, in turn, causes diarrhea. Infectious agents may physically damage intestinal cells directly or indirectly with secreted toxins

What natural and home remedies help soothe stomach flu (gastroenteritis) symptoms?


There are many different natural and/or home remedies that may help reduce gastroenteritis symptoms: 
Home treatment consists of adequate fluid intake so dehydration is prevented
Clear fluids are recommended (Pedialyte especially for young children, Gatorade, PowerAde and other sports drinks), but not fruit juices or milk as they may prolong the symptoms 

  • Salt
  • Ginger
  • Baking soda
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Basil
  • Chamomile tea
  • Asafetida spice
  • Zinc
  • Cinnamon
  • Mint
  • Turmeric
  • Yogurt

If dehydration occurs, the patient should be immediately evaluated by a doctor. Discuss home remedies with your physician before using them.

What foods are recommended to eat (diet ) when you have the stomach flu (gastroenteritis)?


Some health-care professionals suggest a special diet for the gastroenteritis, especially for viral and/or bacterial infections in children. First and foremost is adequate fluid rehydration to prevent dehydration.

The diet frequently suggested is termed the "BRAT" diet. This diet consists of foods that are not usually irritating but soothing for the gastrointestinal tract. The BRAT diet stands for bananas, rice, applesauce and toast. Although some doctors think this diet may not markedly benefit patients, others recommend it for both adults and children for a day or two to make the transition from the resolving symptoms of acute gastroenteritis to the patient's previously normal diet

 [Original Source]

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