Gastroenteritis: What You Need To Know it’s not fun and sucks!!
Stomach “bug” AKA Gastroenteritis
What is gastroenteritis?
The stomach “bug” is usually a sickness caused by a virus which spreads from person to person or through food contamination. Symptoms usually appear 1 to 2 days after exposure. Symptoms are often mild and usually only last a day or two. You may experience some of the following symptoms:
- Upset Stomach
- Abdominal cramps
Some tips to prevent getting a stomach bug:
- Wash your hands.
- Don’t share drinks.
- Do not prepare food for people if you are sick.
- Throw out refrigerated leftovers once a week to avoid eating spoiled food.
- Clean surfaces well before preparing food on them.
- Keep your meats separate from your vegetables when storing them.
- Cook meat to 160F and maintain at 140F or higher.
- Thaw meat in the refrigerator or microwave.
- Refrigerate leftovers within two hours.
- Don’t put cooked meat on the plate where raw meat was held.
What to do if you get a stomach “bug”:
- Wait about 30-60 minutes after the last vomiting to try drinking fluids.
- Sip small amounts of clear liquids frequently. Try ice chips, sips of water, flat ginger ale or 7-up, weak tea, diluted apple juice, Gatorade, clear soups, Jell-O.
- Let your gastrointestinal tract settle by not eating for several hours. Then start with small amounts of bland, easy-to-digest food: cooked cereals, bread or bagel (no butter or margarine), toast with jelly, crackers, plain pasta, pretzels or bread sticks, fruits ( banana, apple, applesauce ), cooked potatoes, cooked vegetables, eggs, rice, chicken, turkey, baked fish.
- Get plenty of rest.
- Eat small amounts of bland food frequently for 2-3 days to prevent recurrence.
- Avoid dairy products, greasy or spicy foods, raw vegetables, caffeine, and alcohol until recovery is complete.
Over-the-counter (OTC) medications:
- Anti diarrheals Preparations of bismuth subsalicylate (e.g., Pepto-Bismol) or Loperamide (Immodium) can reduce the duration and severity of simple diarrhea. These medications should be avoided if you have a high fever or blood in the stools because they may make the illness worse.
- Pain reliever/fever reducer Acetaminophen (Tylenol) can make you more comfortable. Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) is not recommended as it can cause further stomach upset.
Complications: Your body needs fluids to function. Diarrhea and vomiting can cause dehydration. Symptoms of dehydration: excessive thirst, dry mouth, little urine or dark yellow urine, severe weakness, dizziness or lightheadedness. Mild dehydration can be treated by drinking liquids. Severe dehydration may require intravenous fluids.
- Stools containing blood or black stools
- Temperature over 101.5 F for more than 24 hours
- Prolonged vomiting
- Signs of dehydration
- Diarrhea that lasts more than 3 days