Gastroenteritis is a generally mild infection that affects thousands of people each year. It is characterized by inflammation of the stomach (gastro) and intestine (enteritis). It can be caused by a virus, bacteria or parasite. Most gastroenteritis is caused by viruses (most commonly Noroviruses). The virus is very contagious and can remain in the stool for up to two weeks after the symptoms have ended.

The most common symptoms are nausea, vomiting, and abdominal cramps with diarrhea. Fever can occur, but it is usually mild and appears 24 to 48 hours after coming into contact with the infectious agent. These symptoms usually appear and persist for 2 to 3 days, but may last a week or more. Sometimes chills, headache, bloating, muscle pain, fatigue and blood in the stool can also be seen.

Gastroenteritis is mainly spread by:

  • Direct contact with an affected person or by touching surfaces and objects contaminated by the virus and then bringing your fingers to your mouth.
  • Consumption of contaminated water or food: special attention should be paid to the consumption of water and food when traveling abroad.
  • Contact with certain animals such as birds, fish or reptiles or during the maintenance of their habitat (aquarium, cage, litter, etc.).

Hand washing is the most effective way to prevent the transmission of infections and prevent gastroenteritis.

For additional information, contact Info-Santé by calling 8-1-1.

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