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All about gastroenteritis causes of gastroenteritis stomach flu (viral gastroenteritis) bacterial gastroenteritis eosinophilic gastroenteritis symptoms of gastroenteritis diagnosis of gastroenteritis treatments for gastroenteritis prevention of gastroenteritis

How is gastroenteritis prevented?

If the gastroenteritis is caused by a virus, it probably cannot be prevented. If food poisoning is the cause of the symptoms, it is important in the future to avoid foods that have been incorrectly prepared or have not been properly refrigerated. Bacteria often grow in poultry products, foods made with eggs, or cream products. Do not leave foods like potato salad, chicken salad, cream puffs, or chicken un-refrigerated, especially in warmer weather. Gastroenteritis caused by emotional upsets

may be preventable to some degree by making a conscious effort to reduce stress in your life. Balancing the demands of work and school with opportunities for leisure time with family and friends may modify the effects stress has on your well-being. Regular physical exercise allows an outlet for tension and may help build up your immune system. Stress-related diarrhea is often caused by the involuntary nervous system reacting to stressors that may not be consciously perceived. Vomiting and diarrhea caused by overindulgence in alcohol is largely preventable by exerting self-control and limiting the number of drinks you consume.

Because most infections that cause gastroenteritis are transmitted by person-to-person contact, particularly through direct or indirect contact with infected stool, good hand washing with soap and water after a bowel movement is the most effective means of prevention. To prevent food-borne infections, meat and eggs should be cooked thoroughly, and leftovers should be refrigerated promptly after cooking. Only pasteurized dairy products and pasteurized apple juice should be used. For infants, a simple and effective way to prevent gastroenteritis is breastfeeding.

There are few steps that can be taken to avoid gastroenteritis. Ensuring that food is well-cooked and unspoiled can prevent bacterial gastroenteritis, but may not be effective against viral gastroenteritis. General suggestions on how to reduce the risk of gastroenteritis include:

  • Wash hands thoroughly with soap and water after going to the toilet or changing nappies, after smoking, after using a handkerchief or tissue, or after handling animals.
  • Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water before preparing food or eating.
  • Use disposable paper towels to dry your hands rather than cloth towels, since the bacteria can survive for some time on objects.
  • Keep cold food cold (below 5°C) and hot foot hot (above 60°C) to discourage the growth of bacteria.
  • Make sure foods are thoroughly cooked.
  • Clean the toilet and bathroom regularly, especially the toilet seat, door handles and taps.
  • Clean baby change tables regularly.
  • When travelling overseas to countries where sanitation is suspect, only drink bottled water. Don't forget to brush your teeth in bottled water too. Avoid food buffets, uncooked foods or peeled fruits and vegetables

More information on gastroenteritis

What is gastroenteritis? - Gastroenteritis is an inflammation of the stomach and intestine resulting in diarrhea, with vomiting and cramps when irritation is excessive.
What causes gastroenteritis? - The most common cause of gastroenteritis is viral infection. Gastroenteritis arises from ingestion of viruses, certain bacteria, or parasites.
What is stomach flu (viral gastroenteritis)? - Stomach flu (viral gastroenteritis) is a viral infection that affects the stomach and small intestine. It is also called viral gastroenteritis.
What is bacterial gastroenteritis? - Bacterial gastroenteritis is an inflammation of the stomach and intestines caused by bacteria or bacterial toxins.
What is eosinophilic gastroenteritis? - Eosinophilic gastroenteritis is a rare disease in which the lining of the stomach, small intestines and large intestines become inflitrated with eosinophilis.
What are the symptoms of gastroenteritis? - The main symptoms of gastroenteritis include poor feeding in infants, vomiting and fever, usually rapidly followed by diarrhoea.
How is gastroenteritis diagnosed? - The symptoms of gastroenteritis are usually enough to identify the illness. However, if identification of the infectious agent is required.
What're the treatments for gastroenteritis? - Symptoms of uncomplicated gastroenteritis can be relieved with adjustments in diet, herbal remedies, and homeopathy.
How is gastroenteritis prevented? - If the gastroenteritis is caused by a virus, it probably cannot be prevented. There are few steps that can be taken to avoid gastroenteritis. 
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All information is intended for reference only. Please consult your physician for accurate medical advices and treatment. Copyright 2005,, all rights reserved. Last update: July 18, 2005