Viral gastroenteritis is an inflammation of the stomach and intestines caused by a type of virus, which causes watery diarrhea, abdominal cramps, nausea or vomiting, and sometimes fever. It is contagious and spreads through close contact with people who are infected or through contaminated food or water.
Many different viruses can cause illness. The most common viruses are Rotavirus and Norovirus. If a person's immune system is strong it is easier to recover without any complications. But in infants, older adults, and people with compromised immune systems, viral gastroenteritis can be deadly.
Rotavirus commonly affects infants and young children. It spreads orally, entering the body through the mouth. Norovirus is highly contagious and can affect anyone at any stage of life. It can spread through contaminated food, water, and surfaces or by infected people.
Tips to avoid infection
• Wash your hands frequently, especially before eating. This is the best way to prevent many infections.
• Avoid eating unhygienic food on the roadside. Also, avoid eating at places with poor unhygienic practices.
• When eating outside choose food that is served steaming hot. The heat kills the pathogens and lowers the risk of acquiring the infection.
• Avoid eating undercooked food, especially meat or eggs. Undercooked foods are likely to be contaminated with bacteria.
• Drink filtered or boiled water. During the monsoons, the risk of contamination of water sources is pretty high.
• Drink boiled water and carry a bottle of water when going out, instead of drinking from an unsafe source.
• Avoid food that may not have been stored safely. Food left at room temperature for too long may contain bacteria or toxins that cant is destroyed by cooking.
• Wash raw fruits and vegetables thoroughly before eating and keep them separate from ready-to-eat foods.
• Keep raw meat, poultry, and fish away from other foods to prevent cross-contamination.
• Swimming is a good exercise, but not for people with lowered immunity. If you have flu or have just recovered from an illness, avoid swimming to prevent stomach flu.
• Keep your fridge temperature below 5°C as that stops food poisoning bugs from growing on the food.
• Early vaccination is recommended to prevent severe Rotavirus illnesses in infants and small children.