In the most common cases of gastroenteritis, there is no specific treatment. The best form is to stay as hydrated as possible to speed up the recovery and avoid dehydration. In more particular cases, some antibiotics or antidiarrheal medications can be prescribed. If you are suffering from gastroenteritis, call or visit AFC Urgent Care Hillsdale. Our physicians can recommend treatment options for you or recommend you come in for testing. 

Symptoms of Gastroenteritis

Gastroenteritis typically has the same symptoms for everyone. It is not life-threatening, but dehydration can occur very quickly. Some signs of gastroenteritis include:

  • Diarrhea 
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Vomiting and nausea
  • Headache
  • Low-grade fever

With viral gastroenteritis, symptoms typically show within 1 to 3 days after exposure. They also typically only last one or two days, but some symptoms may last up to 10 days. Bacterial gastroenteritis symptoms may last three days, and patients should seek medical attention if they last more than 5. 

Causes & Risk Factors

Certain viruses such as norovirus or rotavirus can cause gastroenteritis. Norovirus is more common in foodborne illnesses. Rotavirus is prominent among children and spreads primarily through close contact with others. Adults are less likely to have rotavirus symptoms, but they are still able to transmit it to others, including children. 

Gastroenteritis can affect everyone, no matter their age or current health. However, some factors can make its symptoms more severe for some. Young children are more likely to spread it, as they often touch things and put their hands in their mouths. Their immune systems are not as developed. The elderly, for the same reason, can suffer from severe symptoms, as their immune systems have started to decline. Patients with conditions that impact their immune systems may also suffer from severe symptoms. 

Treatment Options

Since viral gastroenteritis does not have medication for treatment, the best way is to use at-home measures. This includes letting your stomach settle by avoiding food for a few hours. Drink small sips of water, non-caffeinated sports drinks, or clear broth to help maintain hydration. As you ease back into eating, avoid fried foods, dairy, or overly fatty foods. Try foods like rice, lightly seasoned chicken, bananas, and crackers. Also, be sure to replace the fluids in your body to avoid dehydration. 

For bacterial gastroenteritis, your physician may prescribe an antibiotic. Additional measures may need to be taken to help support hydration, such as fluids and electrolytes. This will depend, however, on the severity of a patient’s case.