Acute intestinal infections are caused by both bacteria and viruses. The infection is transmitted by fecal-oral, contact-household or airborne droplets and affects the digestive tract. Regardless of the method of infection and the type of pathogen, the symptoms of most intestinal infections are similar to each other, therefore, it is not always possible to isolate the pathogen.
Signs of intestinal infection appear quickly - the incubation period ranges from several hours to two days (for some viral infections, up to seven days). The condition of patients worsens quickly - at first, rapidly increasing weakness, abdominal discomfort appear, then other symptoms join.
The main signs of an intestinal infection are vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhea. The pain in the abdomen can be pressing, bursting or acute, persistent or paroxysmal. Sometimes mild pain sensations are noted, perceived more as discomfort. Symptoms such as flatulence, rumbling, and abdominal transfusions are common.
Vomiting with intestinal infections can be as multiple, accompanied by cramping pain in the abdomen, or single. After vomiting, there may be short-term relief.
Intestinal infections are characterized by pronounced signs of intoxication - weakness, pallor of the skin, lack of appetite. In some cases, patients are unable to swallow even a small amount of water - one or two sips of liquid immediately cause vomiting. Fever, lower blood pressure, chills, headaches are also possible. With viral infections, enlargement of the lymph nodes is often observed.
A common symptom of viral and bacterial lesions of the digestive tract is diarrhea. For some types of infections, stool frequency can be up to 15-20 times a day. Vomiting and diarrhea can lead to dehydration (dehydration), which is expressed in dry mucous membranes, an increase in lethargy, weakness, and fever. Progressive dehydration can lead to the death of the patient, therefore, in the treatment of intestinal infections, replenishing fluid losses is one of the main tasks. Dehydration is especially dangerous for children - due to their low body weight, severe dehydration in babies occurs faster than in adults.
Dangerous signs requiring immediate medical attention are vomiting and diarrhea mixed with blood, profuse (frequent and profuse) diarrhea and frequent vomiting if it is impossible to make up for fluid loss, severe weakness (up to loss of consciousness), fever, rash. Double vision, respiratory failure, severe muscle weakness are characteristic of such foodborne diseases as botulism, while vomiting and diarrhea may be absent. If such signs appear, the patient needs to be urgently hospitalized - botulism can lead to spasm of the muscles involved in breathing, and to death.