Gastro-intestinal infections

Gastro-intestinal infections are often caused by viruses or bacteria.

Overview

Gastro-intestinal infections are often caused by viruses or bacteria. The typical symptoms are abdominal pain and diarrhoea, often accompanied by nausea and vomiting. The infection usually heals by itself after a few days; it is important to drink plenty of fluids.

Symptoms

Main symptoms

Other symptoms

  • Fever
  • Feeling unwell and weak
  • Joint pain

Causes and treatment

Causes

  • Bacteria (e.g. campylobacter, Yersinia, etc.)
    • From eating contaminated food (eggs, poultry, meat products, raw milk)
  • Viruses (e.g. norovirus, rotavirus, etc.)
    • Human-to-human transmission
  • More seldom caused by fungi or parasites
  • Certain medications weaken the wall of the gut and can promote infection

Further treatment by your doctor / in hospital

Possible tests
  • Blood test
  • Stool analysis (search for bacteria)

Possible therapies

  • Intravenous infusions
  • Antibiotics for bacteria

What can I do myself?

  • Drink plenty of fluids (water, tea, electrolyte solutions from the pharmacy)
  • “Rest your bowel”: avoid solid food and only drink fluids for a short while (max. 1 day)
  • Food hygiene: store food at the correct temperature, wash vegetables well, stick to the use-by date

When to see a doctor?

  • Vomiting and diarrhoea for more than two days
  • High fever
  • Severe abdominal pain
  • Blood or pus in your stool
  • Muscle cramps, disorientation, sleepiness or circulatory disorders
  • Symptoms appear up to three weeks after a visit to the tropics
  • All babies with diarrhoea, vomiting and fever

Synonyms

Gastro-intestinal infections

Exclusion of liability

CSS offers no guarantee for the accuracy and completeness of the information. The information published is no substitute for professional advice from a doctor or pharmacist.

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