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 Viral gastroenteritis

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تاريخ التسجيل : 02/04/2008

مُساهمةموضوع: Viral gastroenteritis   الجمعة 17 أكتوبر 2008, 20:53





Definition

Viral gastroenteritis is inflammation of the stomach and intestines
caused by a virus. The infection can lead to diarrhea and vomiting. It
is sometimes called the "stomach flu."


Causes

Viral gastroenteritis is a leading cause of severe diarrhea in both
adults and children. Many types of viruses can cause gastroenteritis.
The most common ones are:

• Rotavirus, the leading cause of severe
gastroenteritis in children. It can also infect adults exposed to
children with the virus. Outbreaks may also occur in nursing homes.
• Norwalk virus, which is common among school-age children.


These viruses are often found in contaminated food or drinking water.
Symptoms of viral gastroenteritis usually appear within 4 to 48 hours
after exposure to the contaminated food or water.
Those with the highest risk for severe gastroenteritis include the
young, the elderly, and people who have suppressed immune systems.


Symptoms

• Abdominal pain
• Abdominal cramping
• Diarrhea
• Nausea
• Vomiting


Additional symptoms may include:

• Unintentional weight loss
• Vomiting blood (very rare)
• Excessive sweating
• Clammy skin
• Muscle pain
• Joint stiffness
• Incontinence
• Fever
• Chills
• Poor feeding


Exams and Tests

Tests that examine stool samples are used to identify the specific virus or rule out a bacterial cause.

Treatment

The goal of treatment is to prevent dehydration. Fluids and
electrolytes (salt and minerals) lost by diarrhea must be replaced.
Electrolyte and fluid replacement solutions for children are available
in food and drug stores. Juice, soda or water do not replace
electrolytes lost from vomiting or diarrhea. Children with diarrhea
often benefit from dietary modifications until the diarrhea subsides.
Since the risk of dehydration is greater in infants and young children,
parents should closely monitor the number of wet diapers changed per
day when the child is sick. People with diarrhea who are unable to take
fluids by mouth because of nausea may need intravenous fluids. This is
especially true in small children.
Antibiotics do not work for viruses.
Antidiarrheal medications are generally not given, as they may prolong the infectious process.
DO NOT give anti-diarrheal medications to children unless directed to do so by a health care provider.
People taking diuretics who develop diarrhea may be advised by their
health care provider to stop taking the diuretic during the acute
episode. However, DO NOT stop taking any pre******ion medicine without
first talking to your doctor.

Outlook (Prognosis)

Most infections will go away on their own. Children may become severely ill from dehydration caused by diarrhea.

Possible Complications

Rotavirus causes severe gastroenteritis in infants and young children. Severe dehydration and death can occur in this age group.

When to Contact a Medical Professional

Call your health care provider if diarrhea persists for more than
several days or if dehydration occurs. You should also contact your
doctor if the following symptoms are present:

• Blood in the stool
• Low urine output
• Nausea
• Faintness
• Dizziness
• Dry mouth
• Sunken appearance to the eyes
• Sunken fontanelle (soft spot on an infant's head)
• Confusion


Prevention

Most infectious organisms are transmitted by unwashed hands. The best
way to prevent viral gastroenteritis is to handle food properly and
wash hands thoroughly after using the toilet.
RotaTeq is a vaccine used to prevent rotavirus-related gastroenteritis
in infants. However, a serious intestinal problem called
intussusception has been reported in a small number of infants who
received this vaccine. Immediately call your doctor if your child
received this vaccine and has stomach pain, vomiting, diarrhea, blood
in the stool, or a change in bowel movements


_________________




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Viral gastroenteritis
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