Gastroenteritis (Stomach Flu) - Diagnosis

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How is gastroenteritis diagnosed?

Gastroenteritis is most often presumptively diagnosed simply by the symptoms. Because gastroenteritis is a disease that usually runs a limited course that resolves on its own without medical treatment, the large majority of patients are never seen or diagnosed by a health care professional. There are no specific tests for gastroenteritis. However, during outbreaks like those seen on cruise ships, viral and bacterial cultures or PCR and other immunologically-based tests can identify the causative pathogen. However, by the time this identification occurs, most of the patients have begun to recover. When gastroenteritis symptoms become severe, most public health officials and clinicians run such tests to identify the causative agent based on the pateint's history, physical exam, and symptoms.

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Comment from: cinderella, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: December 30

Stomach pains were the worst. I had headaches and burning up but not running a fever. I left work early on Tuesday and missed next 3 days with aches, pains and headaches. It is weekend now, I ate very little. Sunday I woke up puking and had many trips to the toilet not knowing if I needed to sit or stand. I'm feeling horrible!

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Comment from: =), 19-24 Male (Caregiver) Published: December 07

I work as an RN and 2 days ago I was taking care of a person with symptoms of gastroenteritis. I did my best to wash my hands every time I get out of that person's room. But about 24-36 hours later I started to feel nauseous and had a couple watery BMs. I knew right away that I have gastroenteritis. Luckily I'm off for 3 days and I'm treating myself with lots of Gatorade, forcing myself to drink more than what I put-out. Fellow RNs told me to go to the ED, but I refused coz first hospitalization costs a lot and I'm sure gastroenteritis can be treated at home as long as you can tolerate to take fluids by mouth. The best thing I or we can do is stay well-hydrated. But if you're having severe nausea/vomiting and can't tolerate to take fluids by mouth, you may need medical intervention and get rapid hydration through an IV (replacing fluids and electrolytes through a vein). ALWAYS WASH YOUR HANDS!!! And meditation can help a lot with the nausea. Take care!!!

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