Intestinal infection: treatment includes special diet and fluid intake
The term intestinal infection is translated into medicine as a disease called acute gastroenteritis. Gastroenteritis can be caused by viruses or bacteria. Diarrhea is the most important symptom, and still causes many deaths worldwide, especially in children.
Gastroenteritis can be viral (caused by viruses) or bacterial (caused by bacteria), and viral infections are more prevalent. The form of transmission and contagion is by the fecal-oral route, that is, by the contamination of food and water. The infection induces poor digestion of carbohydrates, malabsorption of nutrients and inhibition of water absorption. The virus enters the intestinal cells without destroying them, but generating an intense inflammatory response. Bacteria, on the other hand, cause ulceration and abscesses in the mucosa, inducing an inflammatory response. Outbreaks tend to be seasonal, being more common in the summer. Children are more affected by rotavirus, whereas in adults there is a prevalence of norovirus.
When seeking medical help
Diarrhea with blood, severe pain and a high fever are warning signs. Children and the elderly are at higher risk groups.
Diarrhea is the most common symptom. The symptoms that may be associated are nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, malaise, fever, and abdominal pain throughout the body. Diarrhea with blood is suggestive of infection by bacteria. Dehydration is an important signal, which must be treated properly as a matter of urgency. Viral gastroenteritis is self-limiting, usually lasting up to four days. In the bacterial, the average is of seven days, being able to last up to 45 days, and in some cases the use of antibiotics is necessary. In bacterial infections the onset is usually faster, sometimes only a few hours after contact with the contaminated food.
Medical help is needed mainly when there is:
- Signs of dehydration
- Intense and large diarrhea amount of vomiting
- Poor capacity to ingest water
- Little urine
- Weight loss
- Sticky skin
Diarrhea with blood, severe pain and high fever are signs of the alarm. Children and the elderly are at higher risk groups. A doctor can always help you get around unpleasant symptoms.
Treatment focuses on symptoms
The main measure is to correct dehydration, which can be taken orally or through the intravenous route. There are specific products for oral rehydration, although we can still use the homemade serum. The age-appropriate diet should be maintained if there is no dehydration, avoiding salads, coffee, alcohol, fat, frying and sorbitol sweeteners. Banana and apple can help. Coconut water or water should be ingested at will. The use of symptomatic agents, such as anti-hehetics, antipyretics and analgesics (such as seemstamol) may be used. There are benefits to the use of probiotics (non-pathogenic live microorganisms).
In the most severe and prolonged bacterial infections antibiotics must be used. Today there is a vaccine for Rotavirus indicated for children up to six months of age, however, the best prevention is hygiene, washing hands and food well. It can be considered cured once the symptoms have disappeared.
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