Gastroenteritis is an inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract, which includes your stomach and intestines, and is commonly called the "stomach flu." Gastroenteritis usually causes severe symptoms and can even be fatal.
Gastroenteritis is spread by the following two ways:
Many kinds of bacteria cause gastroenteritis, so symptoms can vary. In some types of gastroenteritis, symptoms come on quickly. In others, they don't appear for 24 to 48 hours. Symptoms can range from mild to severe and may include:
Your physician will take a complete health history; be sure to mention any recent trips and what you ate before you became ill. Keep in mind that symptoms may not appear for a day or two after you become infected. You may be asked to provide a sample of your stool. This is sent to a lab for testing. Don't forget to check with your doctor or hospital emergency department to learn the test results. In some cases, you will be asked to see your doctor for follow-up care.