The First Day of Gastroenteritis: Basic Care
Gastroenteritis is a condition caused by bacteria that can be transmitted many different ways. One of these is though contaminated foods. Learn more about this disease that is very common these days.
Many people go through the first day of gastroenteritis without paying any attention to the symptoms, and without consulting a doctor. Vomiting, possible diarrhea, abdominal pain that comes and goes leads them to believe that they simply ate something that has made their stomach upset.
They end up thinking that the discomfort is temporary, and that it will go away quickly. However, when they realize that they have been dealing with the symptoms for several consecutive days until the point of feeling a sharp pain, they decide to react and visit their doctor. This is the start of the disease.
The time that passes between when you contract the infection and the first day of declared gastroenteritis (incubation period) depends on the type of infection. It can last for an hour or for many weeks, but it usually lasts between two and three days.
What is gastroenteritis?
It is an illness that affects the stomach. The most common cause is the presence of bacteria that is generally ingested because of some intoxicated food. This bacteria damages the gastric mucous (the lining of the stomach) and causes inflammation and bloating.
On occasion, this illness is caused by using or abusing analgesic medications, for virus or parasites, as a result of the use of cocaine, alcohol or stress.
The most common symptoms are:
- Burning in the mouth of the stomach, meaning, the upper part of the abdomen
- Nausea and vomiting
- Feeling of being “too full” after eating
- Loss of appetite
From the first day of gastroenteritis, these symptoms can start to appear. This can occur simultaneously or with just one of them. It is necessary to watch your symptoms, since they are an indication that the illness has developed. There are patients that suffer from very mild symptoms, while others have unbearable pain.
Suggestions to keep in mind from the first day of gastroenteritis
Right when you notice the first symptoms, the most important piece of advice is that you consult your doctor. However, there are some measures that should be taken until the doctor makes his diagnosis and prescribes a treatment, such as:
- Keep your stomach and intestine empty. If it is not full of food, the infection will not proliferate and it will heal. Because of that, the affected person should skip two or three meals, and not eat anything.
- Eat little by little. Start with natural foods and remedies like sugar-free natural yogurt, since the lactobacilli will help to replenish the intestinal flora. It is important that the foods do not contain sugar, because sugary foods will help spread the infection. It is also a good idea to eat rice and plain bread (in small portions).
- Drink a lot of bottled water. Drink it using small sips. It is recommended that you drink two tablespoons of water every five minutes. The small quantities of water will effectively hydrate the body.
Once the illness has gone away, and for a while after, we recommend that you eat small, but frequent meals. It is important to avoid irritating foods, such as those that are spicy, acidic and fried, as well as the consumption of alcohol. Infusions can also help to calm the pain. Incorporating stress management techniques, such as meditation and yoga, is usually a great help.
How does gastroenteritis spread?
This illness is becoming more and more frequent around the world and can be spread a variety of different ways:
- Eating contaminated foods
- From person to person. This occurs if an infected person goes to the restroom and then doesn’t wash his hands before working with foods or touching other people.
- When an infected person coughs or sneezes, the virus is transmitted into the air and someone can breathe it in.
- Drinking contaminated water, especially in places where the water is low quality for human consumption.
Hygiene is a fundamental factor when it comes to prevention. If there is a person in your home who is infected with gastroenteritis, hygienic measures are the main way to prevent it from spreading. Some suggestions for preventing it are:
- Frequently cleaning the toilet with disinfectant
- Avoid sharing towels and utensils with people who are showing symptoms of gastroenteritis.
- Be insistent with washing your hands, as well as having others in the family do so
- Avoid eating foods that do not offer sanitary guarantees such as those that are sold in the streets, for example.
- Always drink boiled or bottle water.
- Wash and disinfect vegetables and fruits before eating them.
- Refrigerate foods like cheeses, milk, butter, cream and meats
It is important to take care of this condition in its first few days and to strictly follow the treatment that your doctor has given you; if not, it can turn into acute gastroenteritis.