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Gastroenteritis

Also called: Stomach flu

Summary

Have you ever had the "stomach flu?" What you probably had was gastroenteritis - not a type of flu at all. Gastroenteritis is an inflammation of the lining of the intestines caused by a virus, bacteria or parasites. Viral gastroenteritis is the second most common illness in the U.S. The cause is often a norovirus infection. It spreads through contaminated food or water, and contact with an infected person. The best prevention is frequent hand washing.

Symptoms of gastroenteritis include diarrhea, abdominal pain, vomiting, headache, fever and chills. Most people recover with no treatment.

The most common problem with gastroenteritis is dehydration. This happens if you do not drink enough fluids to replace what you lose through vomiting and diarrhea. Dehydration is most common in babies, young children, the elderly and people with weak immune systems.

NIH: National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases

Start Here

  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases)
  • (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research)

Diagnosis and Tests

  • Bacteria Culture Test From the National Institutes of Health (National Library of Medicine) Also in Spanish
  • (American Association for Clinical Chemistry)
  • (Nemours Foundation) Also in

Prevention and Risk Factors

  • (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research)

Treatments and Therapies

  • (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research)

Related Issues

  • (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research)

Specifics

  • (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
  • (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) Also in

Clinical Trials

  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institutes of Health)
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institutes of Health)

Journal Articles References and abstracts from MEDLINE/PubMed (National Library of Medicine)

Find an Expert

  • From the National Institutes of Health

Children

  • (Nemours Foundation)
  • (Nemours Foundation) Also in
  • (Nemours Foundation) Also in
  • (Nemours Foundation) Also in

Teenagers

  • (Nemours Foundation) Also in
  • (Nemours Foundation)

Patient Handouts

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