Though most of us tremble at the sound of the word, the truth is clear: Gastroenteritis happens! It can be due to viruses, bacteria or parasites and is something that pays special attention when traveling.
Of course, odds are rising if we come into contact with a person who is sick or still in recovery. That’ s why most of the family or colleagues will be infected too after the first case. When we use the same toilet, the same towels, and even the same computer you realize how easy is for a virus or a bacterium to travel!
However, gastroenteritis often happens during a trip. What we eat and drink need attention, as it is very likely that microbes will be found in the ice cubes in our drinks, the water we drink, food that is not well washed or has not been preserved in the right conditions.
When gastroenteritis occurs it becomes very quickly perceived. Since acute gastroenteritis is said to be the most common disease in the world, we all know pretty much its basic symptoms:
In the winter months, viral gastroenteritis, which is caused by a virus, is more common, whereas in the summer months the most common form is gastroenteritis associated with a bacterium.
Symptoms of gastroenteritis usually last from 24-48 hours, but may last up to 10 days, depending on the infection factor. However, attention should be paid even when the symptoms disappear, as the risk of infecting someone around us continues to exist for the next 3-4 days.
Usually, gastroenteritis is a disease from which we recover fully and relatively quickly, as long as we do the right moves.
Our main concern is to take care to replace the fluids we have lost from diarrhea or vomiting. Besides water, it is advisable to supply electrolytes to help replace precious metals and trace elements such as potassium, sodium, magnesium, zinc, and others.
Probiotics are our precious ally in our effort to deal with gastroenteritis. Since they are “good bacteria,” they help balance the microflora of the bowel and strengthen our immune system so that we recover faster.
Indeed, many companies now make special supplements with probiotics, formulated specifically for people that travel. Look for the word “travel” in their title.
Glutamine is an amino acid that contributes to the healing of the intestinal mucosa, resulting in a better absorption of nutrients. The result is that we have a faster recovery, as the valuable ingredients the body needs are easily put into the bloodstream.
Gastroenteritis: what to eat
Surely, when gastroenteritis happens, our body is weakened and we often have anorexia. In the first few days it may be a little difficult to consume large quantities, so focus on liquids. Prefer soups with rice, pasta, toast, crackers and lean meats.
Generally, make sure that small amounts are taken so that your gastrointestinal does not burden you. For better hydration, consume water, tea and electrolytes in small doses every 15 minutes.
Avoid concentrated juices with sugar, caffeinated beverages, chocolates and syrups, fried or fatty foods, and also spicy ones. In addition, it is advisable to greatly reduce the intake of fiber, which is usually found in fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as whole wheat products.
However, in some cases the treatment of gastroenteritis may be more difficult. For example, when someone has frequent vomiting, it is difficult to hydrate him by mouth. In such cases, the doctor usually decides if it is required to do so parenterally.
Particular attention is paid to young children and the elderly as it is easier to get dehydrated. In general, if the symptoms do not go away for more than 3 days, if there is high fever or if blood is present in the stools, you may need to be treated in a hospital.