Bathurst Health Service is experiencing an increase in young children with gastroenteritis presenting to the Emergency Department. This is likely to reflect gastroenteritis circulating in the community.
Gastroenteritis is highly infectious and the Health District encourages all members of the public to be alert and ensure they take the necessary precautions. It is requested that the public only present to the hospital in emergency medical situations. If you require urgent medical attention call 000 and seek medical assistance immediately. For any minor illnesses or injuries please visit your GP.
Gastroenteritis is most often spread through direct contact with an infected person. Symptoms of viral gastroenteritis may include nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, fever, abdominal pain, headache, and muscle aches. The most effective way to avoid viral gastroenteritis is to wash your hands thoroughly with soap and running water for 10 seconds before handling and eating food, and always wash your hands after using the toilet.
If you or your family contract gastroenteritis it is very important for you to stay home from school, day care, or work. If your work involves handling food, or looking after children, the elderly or patients, do not return to work until 48 hours after symptoms have stopped. Infected people are also urged not to prepare food for others until at least 48 hours after they have completely recovered.
Symptoms can take between one and three days to develop and usually last between one and two days, sometimes longer. Dehydration may follow bouts of vomiting and diarrhoea, therefore people with gastroenteritis should rest and increase the amount of fluids they drink.
For more information on gastroenteritis visit the NSW Health website for a fact sheet at http://www.health.nsw.gov.au/Infectious/factsheets/Pages/Controlling_Viral_Outbreaks.aspx