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