Gastrointestinal infections are parasitic, bacterial, or viral infections that could result in gastroenteritis. Gastroenteritis is a term used to describe an inflammation around the gastrointestinal tract, affecting both the small intestine and the stomach in general. Significant symptoms of gastrointestinal infections are vomiting, diarrhea, and severe pain in the abdominal region.
Most gastrointestinal infections are caused by dehydration, so it is essential to consume as much water as possible. Gastrointestinal diseases typically resolve themselves in a matter of days.
Nonetheless, there are cases where they can pose a potential danger, which can even result in death. If left untreated, gastrointestinal infections could lead to respiratory infections. Babies and little children are most prone to severe complications resulting from gastrointestinal disorders, so early diagnoses and prevention are of significant importance.
Causes of Gastrointestinal Infections
A vast number of microorganisms cause gastrointestinal infections. These could include:
- Adenovirus: This is responsible for fever, diarrhea, bladder infection, and conjunctivitis, etc.
- Rotavirus: It is usually common among kids and babies, and it can be very severe. Rotavirus is responsible for over 500,000 infant deaths a year.
- Clostridium difficile: Old persons are the highest at risk of contracting clostridium difficile infection, and the mortality rate is usually high.
- Helicobacter pylori: This causes vomiting and severe stomach ache. There is usually a low risk of getting stomach or intestinal cancer from it.
- Campylobacter: This is about the number one cause of gastrointestinal infections all over the world. It affects infant children below two years of age and can be contacted through infected dairy products or poorly-cooked meat.
- Escherichia coli: Escherichia coli is usually contracted from contaminated water, especially containing excreta from either animal or human.
- Escherichia coli O157:H7: Causes vomiting and bloody stool. It usually should go away in a matter of days, but if symptoms persist and are not adequately treated, it can lead to kidney failure.
- Salmonella and Shigella: Salmonella and Shigella are usually contracted through ingesting contaminated poultry and dairy products. It causes severe cramps, fever, stomach pain, and fever.
Prevention of Gastrointestinal Infection
You can prevent gastrointestinal infection through simple everyday hygiene practices such as:
- Disinfection of germ-prone surfaces such as in the kitchen
- Thorough washing of hands
- Washing food-stained clothes
- Isolating infected persons immediately
Top-of-the-range automated molecular testing tools such as the BD MAX™️ System can detect at a very early stage, therefore preventing any complications that could arise. They are highly reliable, especially in instances where you need quick results.
Treatment of Gastrointestinal infections
New technologies in medicine have not been able to invent vaccines for most gastrointestinal infections with the exemption of adenovirus and rotavirus. But simple procedures one can take to manage gastrointestinal disorders include:
- Rehydration, and
- Antibiotics (Recommended only in severe cases).
It is not advisable for you to self-diagnose. There are a number of organisms that can result in gastrointestinal infections. Without accurate testing, it will be challenging to find the right treatment. You should visit your medical practitioner, To get the proper investigations carried out so you don’t end up treating the wrong microorganism and prolonging an infection that could have been efficiently treated.
Though gastrointestinal infections can be life-threatening in severe cases, it is still manageable and can be treated. Better yet, prevention is the watchword here, and through simple hygiene practices, the chances of contracting gastrointestinal infections are significantly reduced.