|Health Ministry urges parents to pay special attention to children as they are most affected by Gastroenteritis outbreak|
|Monday, 22 February 2010 10:28|
The Ministry of Health is appealing to persons to ensure that they give their children properly treated water as well as teach them to observe good hygiene practices to stem the spread of gastroenteritis. This comes after the Ministry’s surveillance detected an increase in the levels of the illness so far this year, with most cases seen in children under five years old.
As at the end of January, there have been 3890 cases of gastroenteritis, 2019 of which have occurred in children under five years old. “We are particularly concerned about this group as children seem to be most affected. We have to therefore focus our attention on them and ensure that they are also doing the necessary things to protect themselves,” says Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Sheila Campbell Forrester.
Dr. Campbell Forrester says parents should ensure that they teach their children to practice good hygiene so that they reduce their chances of contracting and spreading the illness. “We recommend regular hand washing but we also recognize that there may be limited water, given the drought we are now experiencing. We therefore are urging persons to use alcohol based hand sanitizers when they are unable to wash their hands and show the children how to properly use them’” she said.
Gastroenteritis is a disease spread by germs in the air, water or food and on dirty hands or utensils. It is highly contagious and causes vomiting, diarrhea or running belly, fever and stomach gripes. If left untreated it can cause death by dehydration, which may be as a result of the vomiting and diarrhea associated with the illness.
If your child displays any of the symptoms, ensure that he/she drinks as much fluids as possible throughout the day. Recommended fluids include oral rehydration fluid, coconut water, diluted fruit juice or plain boiled water. Do not give him/her sweet drinks, ice cream or any dairy products. Young babies should be breast fed.
To reduce the spread of gastroenteritis, wash hands thoroughly with soap and water after using the toilet, before preparing food and drink and before breast feeding or handling infants, children or the elderly.
Contact: MOH, Public Relations Unit Tel: 967-1561