Gastroenteritis is an infection in the stomach and small intestine that causes inflammation and aggravation. Commonly called the stomach flu, it can be caused by viruses, fungus, parasites and bacteria. It can be contracted by eating contaminated food or drink and also by coming into contact with an infected person. Symptoms of the infection will manifest within three days of exposure. Essentially, your body has ingested a toxin and is doing its best to expel that toxin. What that means for you is a series of unpleasant and even painful symptoms.
To protect yourself, practice good hygiene; wash your hands, drink clean water and avoid contact with people who may be infected. It is also important to eat only properly cooked food to ensure that certain bacteria such as Salmonella are killed before ingestion. There is no medical treatment for viral gastroenteritis, but antibiotics will be prescribed for bacterial gastroenteritis.
Loose or liquid stool that continues throughout the day is a big sign pointing to gastroenteritis. If you are experiencing diarrhea, it is important to continue to eat, paying particular attention to get the proper amount of nutrients. As your digestive system malfunctions, it is not absorbing these nutrients as efficiently as usual, so you must help it by eating foods that are good for you.
Drinks that are rich in electrolytes will help your energy level as your body tries to heal. Zinc tablets will also help ease your system. If this symptom persists for longer than two days, you should call your doctor. You should also alert your physician if the stool takes on a tar-like consistency or becomes black. Be advised that sometimes diarrhea can present itself urgently.