A (33, Gwanak-gu), who recently complained of sudden abdominal pain, came to the hospital. He said that he took digestive medicine for a stomach ache, but he came to the hospital because of fever, vomiting, and diarrhea. As a result of the diagnosis, the disease name of Mr. A was enteritis.
Enteritis is an inflammatory disease of the small or large intestine, mostly due to contaminated water and food. In summer, bacterial enteritis caused by eating food contaminated with bacteria accounts for a large proportion. About 80% of patients with enteritis between August and September are caused by Vibrio bacteria.
The reason for the rapid increase in the number of enteritis patients in summer is that the high temperature and humid weather creates an environment where food is easily spoiled. If you eat food that has been spoiled by the heat or cooked in an unsanitary condition, food poisoning bacteria such as Staphylococcus aureus, Salmonella, and Escherichia coli can enter the body, cause infection, and cause enteritis.
In general, if you are infected with enteritis, symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and fever appear. If acute gastroenteritis is not treated for a long time, there is a high risk of dehydration or malnutrition. These days, due to the influence of COVID-19, if you have a fever, you may not be able to get treatment right away at the hospital, so you should pay more attention to prevention.
Enteritis commonly occurs in the large intestine, but the small intestine can also become inflamed, and symptoms appear within 2 hours or 2 days at the latest after ingestion of food. In addition to vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain, bloody stools, loose stools, and dehydration may be accompanied.
If these early symptoms occur, it is desirable to suspect enteritis and visit a physician. When diagnosing enteritis, adequate hydration should be provided along with treatment. In the case of adults, a certain level of self-recovery is possible, but if the symptoms of vomiting are severe, it is difficult to replenish fluids or eat, or children who are vulnerable to diseases require hospitalization. If you have gastroenteritis while on vacation, it is advisable to replenish your hydration with boiled water and ionized beverages until you can go to the hospital.
In internal medicine, fluid therapy is basically performed to replenish insufficient fluids and electrolytes, and endoscopy may be considered if fever, bloody stool, or mucous stool is accompanied. This is because the cause of enteritis may not be simple norovirus.
In the case of norovirus, because it does not inflame the small intestine, it does not cause bloody or mucous diarrhea. Endoscopy is necessary because non-bacterial enteritis, not enteritis caused by food poisoning bacteria, or other causes may exist. In recent years, the incidence of colorectal cancer is steadily increasing, so if the symptoms of enteritis are severe, endoscopy should be supported to determine the exact cause.
It is also necessary to correct lifestyle habits to prevent enteritis. It is wise to avoid eating raw seafood or fish in the summer, and cooking utensils such as knives and chopping boards should be used separately from normal cooking. Cooked food should be cooked by heating it to be fully cooked, and you should wash your hands with detergent before cooking.
In summer, enteritis caused by bacteria occurs mainly, but it is also important not to neglect chronic diseases such as irritable bowel syndrome or Crohn’s disease, which have similar symptoms, as simple enteritis and neglect it. Health management in daily life is more important, and if you continue to feel digestive system abnormalities, it is necessary to quickly visit an internal medicine clinic to receive an accurate diagnosis.
Director Lee Ji-kyung of The Naeun Internal Medicine Clinic, Gwanak-gu