A common, highly infectious disease that tends to re-emerge during the winter months is gastroenteritis; more often known as ‘Gastro’. The most common viral causes of this illness are the rotavirus in children and the norovirus in adults. Other causes of this illness include bacteria such as Salmonella and E. coli. Either bug causes inflammation to the lining of the digestive system. Let us learn the signs and symptoms, and proper treatment for gastroentritis available at home, with this post prepared by a naturopathy in Ballarat.

Gastroenteritis: Signs & Symptoms

Gastro is a quick acting illness – you’ll start to see signs and symptoms in as little as 12 hours following contact with someone with the condition. The main symptoms of this condition include:

  • Sudden and watery diarrhoea
  • Feeling sick, nauseous, upset stomach, or a loss of appetite
  • Vomiting, potentially projectile vomiting
  • Fever; usually mild
  • Headache
  • Aching body or limbs

Symptoms usually last 1-2 days but they can last for as long as 10-14 days.

Help in the Home

There are a lot of things that you can do to help look after yourself, or someone else, with Gastro at home. It might be uncomfortable – as all illness it – but it is normally manageable. Here are some tips for managing this condition at home:

  • Stop the spread: Gastro will spread from the vomit or stool of an infected individual. Clean your hands thoroughly after touching either. You may also want to wash soiled linen or clothes separately to uninfected peoples clothing to help prevent contamination. It can last for days on surfaces – far longer than other viruses.
  • Stay hydrated: drink plenty of fluids to help replace what is lost to vomiting and diarrhoea. An herbal tea such as chamomile, peppermint, yarrow, or elderflower could be particularly helpful here. Add a little raw honey to the tea too.
  • Keep the fever down
  • Eat plain foods: try soup or rice.
  • Reduce nausea: try some ginger or fennel tea.

Gastroenteritis: Outside Help

Keep an eye out for any of the following symptoms, if they appear it is usually a sign that you might need further medical assistance. While most cases can be managed at home you still want further intervention if you see:

  • Signs of severe dehydration such as dizziness or increased thirst
  • A high fever; greater than 40oC
  • Over 24 hours of vomiting
  • Blood present in either the vomit or stool.
  • Severe symptoms have persisted for over a week.

If these symptoms arise, immediately book an appointment for a naturopath’s assistance.

Katherine Knott

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