- Written by Bhaavyaa

Imran not only enjoyed working in his uncle's restaurant but also loved eating the spicy food. But he ate irregularly, often preferring to drink instead. Recently, he had complained of stomach pain with associated gas problems. He suffered particularly at night and eased the symptoms by taking antacids.

His doctor diagnosed severe stomach inflammation and advised Imran to stop drinking alcohol, avoid spicy food and eat regularly. 

After a month's course of medication and sticking to his new dietary regime, all of Imran's symptoms had gone.

While gastroenteritis is often associated with DIARRHOEA and 'traveller's tummy, it occurs most often at home - usually as a result of poor HYGIENE or carelessness. Partly cooked meals, especially poultry, raw egg dishes and shellfish are the most common causes of bacterial and viral gastroenteritis. Another culprit is food that is not at its freshest. Dairy products and seafood may smell bad when they have gone off, but this is not necessarily the case for other foods. Therefore it is important to store food carefully, and always eat it before its use-by date.

Gastroenteritis is an inflammation of the lining of the stomach and intestines, often accompanied by acute diarrhoea and vomiting, stomach cramps and mild fever. An attack can last anything from 6 hours to three days. Symptoms can be caused by toxins produced by bacteria in the food or by inflammation of the intestines due to a virus or bacteria. Generally, food poisoning results in the more rapid onset of symptoms, which can strike within an hour or two.

Many types of virus can cause epidemic gastroenteritis, or intestinal flu. The virus can be transmitted through food handled by infected people, but it is mostly spread through personal contact or coughs and sneezes.

Bottle-fed babies are more likely to contract gastroenteritis than those who are breast-fed because they are not receiving the 'natural' immunity from their mothers' milk and because they are exposed to many more areas of potential contamination - the bottle, the teat, the formula and the milk or water used to prepare it.

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