Gastroenteritis is an infection that can cause a variety of digestive issues, including diarrhea, stomach cramping and vomiting.
Gastroenteritis is typically a short-term (acute) illness that is triggered by infection and inflammation of the digestive system. If a child is generally healthy, they should recover fairly easily. However, if a child has a compromised (weakened) immune system, recovery from gastroenteritis may take longer.
The main types of gastroenteritis include:
- Bacterial – this type is caused by bacteria
- Parasitic – this type is caused by a parasite
- Viral – also known as the stomach flu, this type is caused by a virus
Gastroenteritis has a variety of potential causes, including:
- Bacteria – spread through ingesting harmful bacteria, such as by consuming contaminated food or drink
- Parasite – spread through ingesting a parasite, such as by drinking contaminated water
- Virus – spread through coming into close contact with an infected person, including bodily fluids like saliva
Signs and symptoms of gastroenteritis can include: