Tummy troubles

Tummy troubles
Every year, we experience an array of health issues that we put off as symptoms of seasonal change.

Some common symptoms faced by adults are bouts of nausea and diarrhoea. Many people generally carry on with their routine without consulting the doctor and wait for the season to go away, not realising that these symptoms are actually a sign of gastroenteritis (GE). Children are also prone to the virus and it is more likely to happen during the summer months.

Causes

GE is a condition where the stomach and intestines suffer from inflammation. It can be caused through infections spread by viruses, bacteria, parasites and fungus, making it easily communicable. The rotavirus is a commonly found virus that is responsible for the majority of infections caused by gastroenteritis. Contact with an infected person and poor hygiene can be some of the reasons to make one highly prone to infection. The symptoms for GE start to show usually 12-72 hours after contraction.

Symptoms

The two main symptoms of GE are vomiting and diarrhoea. In some cases, fever, headache, along with muscle pain can also occur. Dehydration can also occur from continuous vomiting and diarrhoea, which is why hydrating at regular intervals is very important. One must also look out for signs such as fever, nausea, blood in stools or dry skin with decreased urination and swollen abdomen.

Treatment

To help ease the symptoms of GE, one must drink plenty of fluids and electrolytes. Paracetamol must be had for any fever or aches and pains, get IV treatment to  balance the nutrients in the body to avoid dehydration. One must ensure that they take symptomatic treatment and maintain hydration at all time even if it is acute GE. One must also monitor their urination schedule and consistency of bowels which can help the physician track the progress of one’s recovery.

Symptoms of severe dehydration, such as persistent dizziness, passing small amounts of urine or no urine at all, losing consciousness, vomiting constantly and not being able to keep down any fluids means one has a serious underlying condition, such as kidney disease, inflammatory bowel disease or a weak immune system and they must consult a physician at the earliest.

(The author is MD, general medicine, Apollo Clinic, Bengaluru)

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