Skip to Content
Home > Wellness Resources > Health Library > Gastroenteritis in Adults and Older Children
Gastroenteritis is an
upset stomach. It causes nausea and vomiting. You may also have diarrhea or a
fever. It is sometimes called "stomach flu," but it is not the flu. Germs like
viruses and bacteria can cause it.
You can catch it from someone
else who has it, or you can get it from food poisoning. Food poisoning can
happen if you eat foods that contain harmful germs. Germs can get into food
while the food is growing, during processing, or when it is prepared. You may
have become ill after eating meat or eggs that weren't cooked enough or by
eating other unsafe foods or drinking unsafe water.
probably begin to feel better in 1 or 2 days, but you might feel bad for a
week. In the meantime, get plenty of rest, and make sure you do not become
dehydrated. Dehydration occurs when your body loses too much fluid. This can
happen when you throw up a lot or have diarrhea.
You can usually
take care of gastroenteritis at home.
thing you can do to keep from catching
gastroenteritis from someone else is to make a habit
of washing your hands often. This is especially important after you use the
bathroom, after you change a baby's diaper, and before you eat or prepare
Don't share personal items like forks and spoons,
toothbrushes, and towels. Try not to be around others who have stomach flu.
Keep your hands away from your nose, eyes, and mouth.
prevent food poisoning by taking steps to make sure your food is not
Other Works Consulted
Goldberg MB (2006). Gastroenteritis section of Enteric infections due to Campylobacter, Salmonella, Shigella, Yersinia, Vibrio, and Helicobacter. In DC Dale, DD Federman, eds., ACP Medicine, section 7, chap. 9. New York: WebMD.
Gottlieb T, Heather CS (2011). Diarrhoea in adults (acute), search date January 2010. Online version of BMJ Clinical Evidence: http://www.clinicalevidence.com.
ByHealthwise StaffPrimary Medical ReviewerE. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal MedicineSpecialist Medical ReviewerChristine Hahn, MD - Epidemiology
Current as ofMay 24, 2016
Current as of:
May 24, 2016
E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & Christine Hahn, MD - Epidemiology
To learn more about Healthwise, visit Healthwise.org.
© 1995-2016 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.