Acute gastroenteritis could be more simply called a long, and potentially lethal bout of stomach flu. The most common symptoms are diarrhea, vomiting and stomach pain, because whatever causes the condition inflames the gastrointestinal tract. Acute gastroenteritis is quite common among children, though it is certainly possible for adults to suffer from it as well. While most cases of gastroenteritis last a few days, acute gastroenteritis can last for weeks and months.
Numerous things may cause acute gastroenteritis. Bacterial infection is frequently a factor, and infection by parasites like giardia can cause acute gastroenteritis to last for several weeks. Viruses can also cause lengthy stomach flu, particularly rotaviruses and noroviruses. Accidental poisoning or exposure to toxins may also instigate acute gastroenteritis as well.
When a person does not recover from stomach flu symptoms within a day or so, it is usually a good idea to see a doctor. Some types of acute gastroenteritis will not resolve withoutantibiotic treatment, especially when bacteria or exposure to parasites are the cause. Physicians may want to diagnose the cause by analyzing a stool sample, when stomach symptoms remain problematic.