Stomach Infection: Cause, Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment, Prevention and Risk Factor

Stomach infection also known as bacterial gastroenteritis or stomach flu happens due to infection in your stomach by bacteria resulting in inflammation in your stomach and intestines. Stomach infection or food poisoning can be caused by vir

Updated: August 17, 2020

Stomach infection also is known as bacterial gastroenteritis or stomach flu happens due to infection in your stomach by bacteria resulting in inflammation in your stomach and intestines. Stomach infection or food poisoning can be caused by a virus also.


Causes of Stomach Infection:

Stomach Infection can be caused by viruses or bacteria. The main types of viruses that cause stomach infection are rotavirus and norovirus. Rotavirus is the most common cause of diarrhea in infants and kids, whereas norovirus is the most common cause of serious gastroenteritis and foodborne disease.

Stomach infection caused by different bacteria are:

Salmonella:

This bacteria is found in meat, dairy products, and eggs. It can be spread through pet reptiles or live poultry.

Campylobacter:

This bacteria is found in meat and poultry.

E. coli:

This bacteria is found in ground beef and salads.

Staphylococcus:

This bacteria is found in meat, dairy products, and eggs.

Shigella:

This bacteria is found in standing water such as a swimming pool.
Stomach infection can be easily spread in several ways. It can spread through

  • Contaminated food or water
  • Unwashed hands after going to the bathroom
  • Contact with someone who has the virus
  • Changing a diaper
  • when a person infected with any of these bacteria touches food, objects, or other people, there is a risk of spreading the infection to others.
  • If you touch your eyes, mouth, or other open parts of your body with infected hands, you can get the infection in your own body.


Symptoms of Stomach Infection:

The common symptoms of stomach infection are:

  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Fever
  • Abdominal pains and cramps
  • Blood in your stools
  • Headache
  • Signs of dehydration, such as dry skin and a dry mouth, feeling lightheaded and being really thirsty, because of diarrhea and vomiting.


Diagnosis of Stomach Infection:

Diagnosis of stomach infection can be done by :

  • Checking for signs of dehydration and abdominal pain.
  • A stool test can be done to find out which bacteria is causing your infection.
  • A blood test can be done to check for dehydration.


Complications of Stomach Infection:

Complications of these infections include:

  • High fevers
  • Muscle pain
  • Kidney failure because of bacterial infections
  • Bleeding in your intestinal tract
  • Anemia

Left untreated, some severe infections can cause brain damage and death.  Your risk of having these complications can be lessened by starting early treatment.


Treatment of Stomach Infection:

When you have a stomach infection the main treatment is to keep you hydrated and maintain the minerals such as sodium and potassium in your body.

  • As you will be dehydrated because of diarrhea and vomiting you need to drink a lot of fluid.
  • You may be admitted to the hospital and given fluids and salts intravenously if you have a serious case of a stomach infection.
  • Antibiotics are usually prescribed for the most severe cases.
  • Treatment of stomach infection include:
  • Drinking fluids regularly throughout the day.
  • Consuming foods or drinks with potassium, such as fruit juice and bananas.
  • Eating little and often.
  • Consuming some salty foods.
  • Eating ginger can help reduce infection and make stomach or abdominal pain less severe.
  • Avoid eating dairy products, high-fiber foods, and fruits to keep diarrhea from getting worse.

Over the counter medicines that neutralize your stomach acid can help fight these infections.


Preventing Stomach Infection:

Take the utmost precautions to avoid spreading the bacteria to others if you already have a stomach infection.

  • Avoid close contact with others during your illness.
  • Do not prepare food for other people until you get cured.
  • Wash your hands before handling food and after using the toilet.
  • Wash salads and vegetables thoroughly.
  • keep your kitchen consistently clean.
  • wash your hands after touching animals.
  • Drink bottled water while traveling abroad
  • If you are storing the cooked food for more than a couple of hours, make sure to store food at either very hot or very cold temperatures.


Risk Factors of Stomach Infection:

  • If you have a weak immune system because of an existing condition or treatment, you may have a higher risk of a stomach infection.
  • Food that is undercooked, stored too long at room temperature, or not reheated well can help develop and spreading of bacteria.
  • Bacteria can produce harmful substances known as toxins and these toxins can remain even after reheating food. Therefore store the cooked food at either very hot or very cold temperatures.


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