This material must not be used for commercial purposes, or in any hospital or medical facility. Failure to comply may result in legal action.
Gastroenteritis in Adults
What is it? Gastroenteritis (gas-tro-en-ter-i-tis) is a common infection of the stomach and bowel. It is often called the "stomach flu." It may be serious in those over 60 years. You should feel better in 7 days.
- Gastroenteritis is caused by a germ called a virus or a bacteria (bak-teer-ee-uh). This germ irritates the lining of the stomach or bowel. These organs cannot do their usual job because of the germ. The germs may get into your stomach or bowel through water or food, like food poisoning.
- You can also get this infection by having close contact with an infected person, like kissing. Or you can come in contact with this germ by sharing food, drinks, or eating utensils, like forks.
Signs and Symptoms: The stomach flu may start slowly or quickly. You may have chills, fever, abdominal (belly) cramps, diarrhea, nausea, or vomiting. Other signs may be headaches, tiredness, or muscle aches. You may also have no interest in eating.
- Your stomach and bowel needs to rest so you should not eat. But you can drink small amounts of clear liquids, such as water or apple juice. Drinking too much during the early part of your illness may cause more vomiting.
- Slowly start eating after you have not vomited for about 12 hours. Soda crackers, bananas, applesauce, or other soft foods are good to eat at first.
- Rest is also very important to treat the stomach flu. Ibuprofen (i-bew-pro-fin) or acetaminophen (uh-c-tuh-min-o-fin) may help your fever or muscle aches. You may need to go into the hospital if you have lost a lot of body fluids (dehydration).
You have the right to help plan your care. To help with this plan, you must learn about your illness. You can then discuss the treatment options with your caregivers. Work with them to decide what care will be used to treat you. You always have the right to refuse treatment.
Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.