Bitesize Chunks on Gastro: 3. Symptoms

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Gastroenteritis is mainly characterised by nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea. However, since there are a variety of causes of gastro, symptoms can differ slightly depending on the particular causative ‘bug’.

Rotavirus

Tummy bugs caused by Rotavirus are characterised by the usual vomiting and diarrhoea, but distinctive to Rotavirus, is that fact that the diarrhoea usually persists for quite some time after the vomiting has subsided. Rotavirus is less commonly seen now in childhood in Australia since the introduction of the Rotavirus vaccine in the childhood immunisation schedule.

Norovirus

This is the virus that has stimulated my succession of ‘posts’ on gastro. It is characterised by quite a sudden onset of nausea and vomiting. The vomiting may be quite violent, profuse and the diarrhoea may start with the vomiting or soon after. You may get stomach cramps, have a low grade fever – feel hot and cold – as well as experience muscle aches and pains. The vomiting may last for 12-24 hours but can go on for a few days. Young children and people with a compromised immunity (i.e due to co-existing health issues) may experience a longer period of vomiting. Diarrhoea can persist for a few days after the acute phase of the infection.

Dehydration and Electrolyte Imbalances

As you may not be able to keep much fluid down you may also experience signs and symptoms of dehydration including dizziness, fatigue, headache and dry mouth. You may urinate less and find your urine is a darker colour than normal.

Every time you vomit or have a bout of diarrhoea you lose ‘electrolytes’. These are ions, such as Sodium and Potassium and they play a crucial role in your body’s biochemistry. The loss of these electrolytes can add to your misery of being sick with Norovirus. Symptoms will vary depending on what ‘ions’ you are mainly depleted in, they can include, but may not be limited to, headache, dizziness, muscle cramping, nausea and vomiting.

Next: Bitesize Chunks on Gastro on: 4. Treatment

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