HomeHealthHealthIntestinal infection: what it is, symptoms, causes and treatment

Intestinal infection: what it is, symptoms, causes and treatment

Intestinal infection usually arises after consumption of food or water contaminated by bacteria, parasites or viruses, and there may be fever, abdominal pain, vomiting and frequent diarrhea, being more common in people who have a weaker immune system, such as children, the elderly and people with chronic diseases.

In most cases, intestinal infection is fought only with rest, fluid intake and light and easily digestible food, however it is important to consult a doctor if the symptoms do not disappear within 2 days, in the case of children, or 3 days in the case of children. adult case.

It is possible to avoid intestinal infection by improving hygiene habits, both personal and food, it is recommended to wash your hands after using the bathroom and take food well before handling it.

Symptoms of intestinal infection

Symptoms of intestinal infection can appear soon after consumption of contaminated food or up to 3 days and vary according to the type of microorganism, severity of infection, age and general health status of the person, the main symptoms being:

  • Abdominal cramps and pain;
  • Constipation or diarrhea, which may include blood in the stool;
  • vomiting;
  • Headache;
  • gas rise,
  • loss of appetite;
  • nausea;
  • Fever.

It is important to remember that the symptoms of intestinal infection are more serious and worrying in children and the elderly, as they have a more fragile immune system, which can favor the faster proliferation of the microorganism and, thus, make the infection more serious, as well as increase weight loss and the risk of dehydration.

Main causes

Intestinal infection can happen due to the presence of microorganisms in food or water, the main ones being:

  • Bacteria: Salmonella spp., Escherichia coli, Listeria spp., Bacillus cereus, Clostridium perfringens, Staphylococcus aureus;
  • Parasites: Giardia lamblia, Entamoeba histolytica, Toxoplasma gondii;
  • Virus: hepatitis A virus, rotavirus, norovirus.

People with a weak immune system, such as AIDS patients or those undergoing cancer treatment, children, pregnant women and the elderly are more likely to have an intestinal infection, as they have a weakened immune system, so the infectious agent can proliferate more easily.

In addition, people who have gastritis or heartburn or who use medication to control stomach acid, such as Omeprazole, are at greater risk of having an intestinal infection, as the acidity of the stomach is reduced, making it difficult to fight viruses and bacteria.

How is the treatment done?

Treatment for intestinal infection is intended to relieve symptoms, and it is recommended that the person remain at rest, drink plenty of fluids and have a light and easily digestible diet, such as cooked white rice, white meats with little seasoning and strained juices, for example. example. See more details on what to eat in case of intestinal infection.

In addition, it is not recommended for the person to take medication to arrest the intestine, as this prevents the infectious agent from being eliminated, which can prolong symptoms and bring complications.

In some cases, the doctor may indicate the use of medication to relieve abdominal discomfort and discomfort, in addition to antibiotics in case the infection was caused by bacteria. The use of probiotic medicines may also be indicated to restore the bacterial flora and thus regulate the functioning of the intestine and fight the infection. Learn more about remedies for intestinal infection.

How to prevent intestinal infection

To prevent intestinal infections, it is important to take care of personal hygiene and food, such as:

  • Wash your hands thoroughly after using the bathroom or touching pets;
  • Wash your hands well before and after handling any food;
  • Avoid consumption of undercooked meat and eggs;
  • Consume filtered or boiled water.

As long as symptoms of a food infection are present, it is important to avoid preparing food for other people to prevent them from getting sick too. In addition, you should avoid consuming foods that most cause intestinal infection, such as raw and undercooked foods. See what are the main foods that cause tummy ache.

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