What is the stomach flu or viral gastroenteritis?
It is a seasonal viral disease that causes inflammation of the digestive tract. Viral gastroenteritis is higly contagious and is caused by a number of viruses, such as Rotavirus and Norovirus which are the most common viruses involved, but also Astrovirus and Adenovirus. These viruses target the digestive tract and cause inflammation of the stomach and intestines. After multiplication, the viral particles will be expelled through the faeces or vomiting, these are your body’s defense mechanisms. There is no treatment as such for the stomach flu but some precautions and good practice such as taking a high concentration probiotics can help to better manage it.
What is Rotavirus, Norovirus, Astrovirus and Adenovirus?
Rotaviruses are responsible for winter epidemics which most often occur in children.
Noroviruses, mainly spread by contaminated food or water, are the main cause of gastroenteritis outbreaks in adults. This virus is resistant to temperatures from 0 to 60 degrees and survives both in water and on surfaces, thus it can be present anytime of the year. Norovirus and Rotavirus are found, for example, on the hands surface which can represent a source of contamination if not properly washed.
Astroviruses are most frequent in frail people such as children, elderly and people with a weak immune systems.
Adenoviruses are not seasonal and infections can occur throughout the year, often in babies under two years of age.
How is viral gastroenteritis transmitted?
The viruses that cause gastroenteritis often come from direct contact from the faeces of an infected person, the so-called fecal-oral route, or contaminated hands or objects, such as door handles. Another possibility of infection is through indirect contact, by the consumption of contaminated water or food such as raw food if not properly washed.
How to strengthen the immune system and protect yourself from viral gastroenteritis?
It is very important to maintain a rich and balanced intestinal flora that keeps your intestinal barrier functions and promote digestion. The consumption of a highly concentrated microbiotic brings beneficial effects on gastrointestinal tract by diversifying intestinal bacteria, reinforcing gut barrier and enhancing the immune response.
Obviously, a balanced diet rich in vitamins and minerals is essential for the well-being of our body.
What are the symptoms of viral gastroenteritis?
These viruses target the digestive tract and cause inflammation of the stomach and intestines. The worst symptoms are nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, swelling and diarrhea, accompanied or not by fever.
How long can it last?
Symptoms usually last for 1 to 3 days and sometimes longer, but can vary significantly depending on the virus involved.
What is the contagion period?
Stomach flu can develop at any time of the year, but it’s most common in the fall and winter. The period of infectiousness is also variable, from 24 hours up to two weeks from the onset of symptoms.
What should be avoided during infection?
We must be very careful about dehydration, that represents the main complication especially in young children and elderly people.
What to do?
There are some things you can do to make yourself more comfortable and prevent complications. It is necessary to drink often and in small quantities to avoid vomiting: water, oral rehydration solution containing minerals and electrolytes, broth or soups of fresh vegetables, tea and herbal teas. Avoid sugars, chocolate, caffeine, alcohol, dairy products, fatty foods. Return to your normal diet as soon as you feel up to it, gradually by introducing simple low-fiber foods such as bread, boiled potatoes and white rice.
What to do after a viral gastroenteritis?
It is recommended to restore the intestinal flora by a highly concentrated microbiotic to reintroduce the beneficial gut bacteria destroyed by the disease, to help the stomach and intestine fight inflammation and renew a good digestive activity.
You are finally ready: armed with soaps and sanitizer to wipe down surfaces, boiling water for cooking and probiotics to prepare or restore yourself !!!