Don’t let gastro stop you enjoying the rest of the dry season

People in the Northern Territory are urged to stay at home if they have gastro and be vigilant about hand washing following a rise in gastro cases across the Top End.

Anthony Draper from the Centre for Disease Control said that there has been an increase in reports of gastroenteritis or ‘gastro’ cases in recent weeks.

“The characteristics of the cases reported are typical of viral gastro which can easily pass from person to person by direct contact or even by sharing the same living or working space. Although these illnesses usually only last for 1-2 days it is not a very pleasant experience.

“The problem with gastro is that it can be very easy to catch. So if you are unlucky and get sick, the best way to prevent others from getting sick is to stay at home. As Territorians we generally pride ourselves on being resilient and stoic, but you certainly won’t be popular if you spread gastro to your colleagues at work or school. If you have gastro, don’t go to work, school or childcare until at least 24 hours after your symptoms have stopped, and definitely don’t prepare food for others.

“The best way to avoid catching gastro in the first place is to regularly wash your hands with soap and water and dry your hands with a clean towel, particularly after going to the toilet or changing nappies, and before preparing or eating food.

“Always cook food properly and store foods at appropriate temperatures.”

Gastroenteritis is an illness caused by infection and/or inflammation of the digestive tract. Symptoms can include nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea and/or stomach cramps and fever.

Anyone with diarrhoea should:

  • drink extra fluids to avoid dehydration
  • not attend child care, school or work until 24 hours after the diarrhoea has ceased
  • not handle or prepare food for others until 48 hours after the diarrhoea has ceased
  • not swim, wade or paddle in public pools
  • see a doctor if they have prolonged or severe diarrhoea or have symptoms that concern them.

Children who keep vomiting, have high fevers, abdominal pain, refuse extra fluids or are drowsy should see a doctor.

Food handling staff who have become ill with symptoms of gastro must not return to work until 48 hours after symptoms have eased.

Those without access to water to wash hands should use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser.

For more information about gastro follow the link https://nt.gov.au/wellbeing/health-conditions-treatments/digestive-health/gastro-diarrhoea

Contact: Tess Nekrasov

Phone: 0427 596 954

Last updated: 05 November 2018