There seems to be a recent increase in cases of gastroenteritis among the community.
This is a brief advisory on how to keep healthy and protect you and your loved ones.
Symptoms of Gastroenteritis
Symptoms of gastroenteritis are varied and may include:
- Fever, tiredness and general malaise;
- Nausea, vomiting and inability to take food orally in more severe cases;
- Stomach pain/cramps;
- Diarrhoea, sometimes with mucous (occasionally tinged with blood in severe cases);
Causes of infection
Consumption of contaminated or undercooked food (esp. meat/poultry, e.g. chicken) and/or drinking of contaminated water is often the cause.
Other common causes are a lack of hand hygiene before eating.
Gastroenteritis does not usually spread from person to person but can be spread within close contacts if the infected person does not wash their hands thoroughly after visiting the toilet.
Most patients recover from gastroenteritis on their own and adequate hydration is often all that is needed. However, vulnerable patients (e.g. children, immunocompromised) or patients with severe infections will require treatment and are advised to see a doctor.
Most cases are preventable:
- Ensure food is fully cooked and correct cooking temperature is reached (esp. when using a microwave). Avoid eating raw or uncooked food.
- Food should be eaten soon after cooking and not left in the open for long periods of time.
- Washing of hands with soap and water before eating, after using the toilet.
- Food handlers should wash their hands with soap and water before and after food preparation.