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
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.
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