What causes infectious diarrhoea?
The most common causes of gastroenteritis are:
- Food poisoning. If you get gastroenteritis in this country, you might put it down to food poisoning. You should always be careful that food is cooked properly, you don’t leave food lying around and you wash your hands before eating.
- Travellers’ diarrhoea. If you get gastroenteritis when abroad, it might be what’s called travellers’ diarrhoea. This can be caused by eating or drinking contaminated food or water. It can also be down to eating unfamiliar rich or spicy foods or by exposure to new types of bacteria.
- Norovirus. Sometimes known as the winter vomiting bug, norovirus is the biggest viral cause of gastroenteritis in the UK and a common cause of diarrhoea and vomiting.
How to prevent infectious diarrhoea
Gastroenteritis can be highly contagious. Go to our Managing Your Diarrhoea area for ways to avoid spreading the infection.
How to treat diarrhoea
It’s important to stay hydrated with infectious diarrhoea. You can use oral rehydration therapy to prevent dehydration. If you have severe diarrhoea, blood in your stools or a high temperature, or if symptoms persist for more than 48 hours consult your doctor.