VIRAL GASTROENTERITIS Overview, Facts, Types, Symptoms, Diagnosis & Medications


Viral gastroenteritis is an intestinal infection that is set apart by loose bowel movement, abdominal spasms, nausea or vomiting, and at times fever.

The most widely recognized way of transmitting viral gastroenteritis is through contact with an infected individual or by ingesting contaminated water or food. In case you’re generally healthy, you’ll likely recuperate without difficulties. For kids, elderly and those with a weak immune system, viral gastroenteritis can be destructive.

There’s no effective treatment for viral gastroenteritis, so prevention is vital. Thorough hand-washing is your best resistance against infection.


Viral gastroenteritis can have the following symptoms:

  • Watery, nonbloody diarrhea
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Abdominal pain
  • Nausea, vomiting or both
  • Muscle aches or headache
  • Low-grade fever

Depending upon the reason, viral gastroenteritis symptoms may show up in one to three days after you’re infected and can run from mild to serious. Symptoms normally last for one day or two, yet sometimes they may last as long as 10 days.

Since the symptoms are similar, it’s easy to mistake viral diarrhea with other diarrhea in the form of Clostridium difficile, salmonella, E. coli, or parasitic gastroenteritis.

You need to visit a doctor if you have poor oral intake, your vomiting has lasted for two days, you’re vomiting blood, you are dehydrated, there is blood in your stools, you have fever, and if you feel very weak.


Your doctor will probably diagnose gastroenteritis by taking a medical history and doing a physical exam, taking into consideration the number of similar cases in your area.  A rapid stool test can identify rotavirus or norovirus, yet there are no rapid tests for different viruses that can cause gastroenteritis. Sometimes, your doctor may order a stool exam to find out whether there is bacterial or parasitic disease.



There’s no particular treatment for viral gastroenteritis. Antibiotic agents aren’t successful against viral infections, and abusing them can add to the development of drug resistant microorganisms. Treatment comprises of hydration and supportive measures.

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