Causes, Treatment & Everything You Need to Know About Gastroenteritis, Latest Killer Disease in Lagos

Gastroenteritis (gas-tro-en-ter-i-tis) is a common infection of the stomach and bowel. It is often called the “stomach flu.” NHS defines it as an intestinal infection marked by watery diarrhoea, abdominal cramps, nausea or vomiting, and sometimes fever. It affects people of all ages, but is particularly common in young children.

Recently, gastroenteritis has become viral in lagos with about 117 cases. Some of the worst hit local governments are Lagos Island, Ajeromi, Apapa, Mushin and Ikeja. Lagos state commissioner for health, Dr Akin Abayomi said in a statement;

“Patients with gastroenteritis come down with severe acute watery diarrhea and profuse vomiting. Those infected with micro-organisms causing the disease show signs and symptoms within 12 hours to one week after ingesting contaminated food or water. The disease affects both children and adults and can kill within hours if untreated,”

He furthered;

“following the report of these cases, Rapid Response Teams at the affected LGAs led by the Medical Officers of Health were activated, stool specimen were collected for laboratory test to confirm the micro-organism causing the vomiting and diarrhea while surveillance have also been scaled up in communities within the affected LGAs to stop the spread of the infection.

“The results of laboratory tests will be published once the source pathogen is identified.”

Gastroenteritis Causes:

  • Gastroenteritis is caused by a germ called a virus or a bacteria (bak-teer-ee-uh). This germ irritates the lining of the stomach or bowel. These organs cannot do their usual job because of the germ. The germs may get into your stomach or bowel through water or food, like food poisoning.
  • You can also get this infection by having close contact with an infected person, like kissing. Or you can come in contact with this germ by sharing food, drinks, or eating utensils, like forks.
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Gastroenteritis Symptoms:

The stomach flu may start slowly or quickly. You may have chills, fever, abdominal (belly) cramps, diarrhea, nausea, or vomiting. Other signs may be headaches, tiredness, or muscle aches. You may also have no interest in eating.

Gastroenteritis Treatment:

In most cases, people with viral gastroenteritis get better on their own without medical treatment. You can treat viral gastroenteritis by replacing lost fluids and electrolytes to prevent dehydration. In some cases, over-the-counter medicines may help relieve your symptoms.

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When you have viral gastroenteritis, you need to replace lost fluids and electrolytes to prevent dehydration or treat mild dehydration. You should drink plenty of liquids. If vomiting is a problem, try sipping small amounts of clear liquids.

Most adults with viral gastroenteritis can replace fluids and electrolytes with liquids such as

  • water
  • fruit juices
  • sports drinks
  • broths

Other important measures include:

  • Your stomach and bowel needs to rest so you should not eat. But you can drink small amounts of clear liquids, such as water or apple juice. Drinking too much during the early part of your illness may cause more vomiting.
  • Slowly start eating after you have not vomited for about 12 hours. Soda crackers, bananas, applesauce, or other soft foods are good to eat at first.
  • Rest is also very important to treat the stomach flu. Ibuprofen (i-bew-pro-fin) or acetaminophen (uh-c-tuh-min-o-fin) may help your fever or muscle aches. You may need to go into the hospital if you have lost a lot of body fluids (dehydration).

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