Rise in viral gastroenteritis across Far West NSW
Far West Local Health District (FWLHD) is urging people to take precautions amid a rise in viral gastroenteritis cases in the Broken Hill community.
FWLHD Director of Public Health, Priscilla Stanley, said there has been an increase in the number of people presenting to hospital with gastro symptoms in Broken Hill, particularly in the 0-4 age group.
“Gastroenteritis is highly infectious and may spread rapidly. The best defence is to wash your hands thoroughly with soap and running water for at least 20 seconds before handling and eating food, and always wash your hands after using the toilet, changing nappies or assisting someone who has diarrhoea or vomiting,” Ms Stanley said.
“Infants or children in childcare or school who develop vomiting or diarrhoea should stay at home for at least 48 hours after their symptoms have stopped, as should staff members and anyone whose work involves handling food or looking after children, the elderly or patients.”
Symptoms of viral gastroenteritis include nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, fever, abdominal pain, headache and muscle aches. They can take up to three days to develop and usually last between one or two days, sometimes longer.
The main treatment for viral gastroenteritis is to rest and drink plenty of fluids. Most people recover without complications, but gastroenteritis can be serious for infants, people with suppressed immune systems and the elderly.
Anyone recovering from gastroenteritis should avoid visiting hospitals and aged care facilities to avoid spreading the infection to those most vulnerable. Any person living in a household affected by gastroenteritis should refrain from visiting these high-risk areas until at least 48 hours after the last person in the household has recovered.
For more information visit: www.health.nsw.gov.au/Infectious/gastroenteritis/Pages/default.aspx