CPR First Aid

How to Treat Gastroenteritis?

According to the Better Health Channel, a Victorian Government website, many solutions exist to treat gastroenteritis. Plenty of fluids, oral rehydration drinks, antibiotics, drugs, and intravenous fluid replacement are some. The treatment for gastro depends on the cause which diagnostic methods may confirm. This infection causes irritating symptoms, but by following the preventive measures below, you may still avoid it. So, read further to learn how you may protect yourself from gastroenteritis and find more details about this digestive issue. 

How to Treat Gastroenteritis?

If you want to know what helps with gastro, read the following first aid and treatments to see what may work best for you.

Discover gastro remedies. Read first aid tips and treatments to find what works for you.

Drink Plenty of Fluids

According to the NSW government’s health website, drinking plenty of clear fluids to treat gastroenteritis is ideal. This includes water and diluted juice to prevent dehydration.

Consider Taking Oral Rehydration Drinks

There are also available rehydration drinks that act as a temporary replacement for fluids and salts that are available from the chemists. Such are available online and over-the-counter which you may even put in your first aid kit.

Ask Prescription for Antibiotics

If hospital tests confirm that bacteria caused the gastroenteritis, a health professional may prescribe antibiotics for it.

Consult About Antiparasitic Drugs

A doctor may recommend taking drugs to kill parasites if it is the cause of the gastroenteritis.

Undergo an Intravenous Fluid Replacement

For severe conditions, a doctor may have to administer fluid to your body through a needle or a tube.

What to Eat When You Have Gastroenteritis?

Healthdirect, an information service the Australian government funds, recommends eating the following easy-to-digest food when your appetite returns.

  • Plain crackers
  • Toast
  • Banana
  • Rice
  • Chicken

It also discourages consuming milk, dairy, and undiluted drinks as the sugar in these may worsen diarrhoea.

What is Gastroenteritis?

Gastroenteritis occurs when infection and inflammation trigger the digestive system. Its main complication is dehydration so the treatments for it focus on replacing the fluid in your body to prevent it.

Gastroenteritis inflames the gut due to infection. Dehydration is its main risk, so treatment aims to prevent this by replacing lost fluids.

What Causes Gastroenteritis?

The following factors may cause infection and inflammation in the digestive system.

  • Viruses
  • Bacteria or bacterial toxins
  • Parasites 
  • Chemicals
  • Medication

Any of the above causes may then lead to gastroenteritis.

How Can You Get Gastroenteritis?

Infectious gastroenteritis occurs due to viruses, bacteria, or parasites that spread through the following.

  • Escherichia coli infection – occurs most often in travelers
  • Campylobacter infection – from food with bacteria
  • Cryptosporidium infection – due to swallowing water with parasites
  • Giardiasis – parasite infection after handling infected animals or following poor hygiene
  • Salmonellosis – from the consumption of contaminated food
  • Shigellosis – spread through food or surfaces
  • Viral gastroenteritis – through person-to-person contact

Most of these cases occur when there is an ingestion of an agent.

What are the First Signs of Gastroenteritis?

The following symptoms may show if you have gastroenteritis.

  • Appetite loss
  • Bloating
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Cramps or pain in the abdominal area
  • Diarrhoea
  • Blood or pus in the stool 
  • General feelings of unwellness such as lethargy and body aches 

If you experience any of these, consult a doctor who will recommend the ideal treatment for gastroenteritis after diagnosing it through examination and tests.

How to Prevent Gastroenteritis?

Aside from regular handwashing, doing the following may also help avoid gastroenteritis.

  • Opt for disposable paper towels over cloth towels as bacteria may survive on the latter
  • Do not use kitchen items on food unless these went a thorough washing
  • Keep kitchen surfaces and equipment clean
  • Cook food thoroughly
  • Keep cold food cold (below 5 °C) and hot food hot (above 60 °C) to avoid bacteria growth
  • Clean the toilet and the bathroom regularly
  • Drink bottled water only in countries where sanitation is suspect

Hand washing with soap and water is also known to be more effective in preventing infection than hand sanitisers.


Plenty of fluids, oral rehydration drinks, antibiotics, antiparasitic drugs, and undergoing intravenous fluid replacement help treat gastroenteritis. When your appetite returns, it’s ideal to eat easy-to-digest food such as crackers and bananas. Gastroenteritis occurs when there is an infection and inflammation in the digestive system which causes different symptoms and possible dehydration. Viruses, bacteria, chemicals, and certain medications cause it which you may get through food, poor hygiene, surfaces, and direct contact with people. Fortunately, it is still possible to avoid it with regular handwashing and other hygienic measures.



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