Grenadian health officials are stepping up the response to effectively manage and control what appears to be an increase in the number of gastroenteritis (gastro/stomach flu) incidents in some parts of the island.
On Wednesday, local health authorities issued an advisory, which indicated that there was an increase in gastroenteritis that warranted the Ministry taking the necessary precautionary measures.
However while the Ministry continues to monitor and respond effectively to the situation, individuals especially parents of young children are encouraged to take all possible steps to prevent their children from being affected.
The most effective means of prevention is frequent hand washing, while at the same time avoiding contaminated food and water.
Gastro/stomach flu is inflammation of the stomach and intestines, typically resulting from bacterial toxins or viral infection.
The most common way to develop viral gastroenteritis is through contact with an infected person or by ingesting contaminated food or water. The public is hereby reminded that the lack of or improper hand washing, especially after using the toilet or handling of dirty diapers, can cause the spread of gastroenteritis from one person to another.
The symptoms of gastroenteritis are:
- Abdominal pain
- Upset stomach
- Stomach cramps
Gastro can be prevented by following these simple steps:
- Always wash hands with soap and water after using the toilet, changing diapers, and before handling, preparing, or eating food
- If no water is available, clean hands with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer
- Keep foods at the correct temperature (cold foods should be kept cold, and hot foods kept hot)
- Prevent flies from getting onto food that are ready to eat
- If you have symptoms of gastro, drink lots of water or fluids
- Give children oral rehydration fluids as directed by your health care provider
This condition is preventable and can be easily treated. However to avoid complications of gastroenteritis, seek medical care if symptoms continue or get worse. Please take the time to listen and heed the advice of your healthcare providers.
Meanwhile, as the festive season approaches, public health inspectors from the Ministry will be conducting spot checks at various events to ensure adherence to good public health practices ,especially in relation to hygienic food handling practices.