Gastroenteritis is an infection of the gastrointestinal system, which manifests itself with very common symptoms and it is usually short-lived. Professor Silvio Danese, Head of the Centre for Inflammatory Chronic Intestinal Diseases of Humanitas, a guest in a study at Tutta Salute on Rai 3, spoke about it.

“Gastroenteritis is an infection associated with inflammation, the cause of which may be viral or bacterial. The most frequently responsible bacteria are salmonella, campylobacter and clostridium difficile, while the viruses most commonly involved are rotavirus and norovirus.

Infection occurs through the hands and orally, and also through contaminated food and water. Always washing your hands thoroughly is essential for prevention,” the professor recommends.


Symptoms of gastroenteritis

“This disorder can affect both the stomach and intestines, with the following symptoms: vomiting, nausea, diarrhea and abdominal pain. These symptoms are common to almost all patients; however, there may be variable symptoms that are less common, such as fever.

The symptoms start suddenly and regress within a few days: this is the distinctive feature of gastroenteritis.

Care should be taken when symptoms persist for more than 5-7 days, possibly with recurrent fever. This is a warning sign, especially in children and the elderly, who are more susceptible to complications such as dehydration”, emphasizes prof. Danese.


What to do?

“First of all, it is good to try to compensate the losses by drinking a lot of water: in the presence of vomiting or diarrhea, in fact, a lot of liquids are lost and the reintroduction helps to rebalance. It is advisable not to fast, but to eat light, favoring easily digestible foods such as bread, rice, fish and white meat, apples and pears.

Antiemetic drugs that reduce vomiting or those that decrease digestive motility may also be useful. In Italy probiotics are often used, which can reduce diarrhea by an average of one day.

If the situation does not improve within a couple of days, it is advisable to consult your doctor,” the specialist concluded.