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A to Z: Gastroenteritis

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May also be called: Stomach Flu

Gastroenteritis is an infection that causes vomiting and diarrhea.

More to Know

Gastroenteritis can be due to an infection with a virus, bacteria, or parasites. Also called the "stomach flu," it is contagious and spreads easily in childcare and schools. It often also causes fever.

Stool samples might be tested for bacteria or parasites if there is blood in the stool (poop). Antibiotics are usually not needed except for certain types of infections in young infants and in people with immune problems.

Keep in Mind

Gastroenteritis usually is not serious and generally lasts a few days. The greatest risk from gastroenteritis is dehydration, so it's most important to stay hydrated with plenty of fluids. Young kids are at the highest risk for dehydration.

All A to Z dictionary entries are regularly reviewed by KidsHealth medical experts.

License

Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses and treatment, consult your doctor.

© 1995–2014 The Nemours Foundation/KidsHealth. All rights reserved.

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