Download Gastroenteritis info sheet to accompany public health notice

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Information sheet developed to accompany public health notice…
GASTROENTERITIS
Gastroenteritis is an infectious viral illness involving the gastrointestinal system (stomach and/or bowels). The
major symptoms consist of nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps and/or diarrhea. There is no medicinal cure. What
follows are instructions to help alleviate your symptoms and assist you to feel better faster.
What Can You Do?
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Stay at home and rest until symptoms subside.
Avoid solid foods.
Take only ice chips until vomiting stops.
As soon as you are able, take small amounts (about 1 oz. every 15 minutes by the clock) of clear liquids
such as tea, ginger ale or broth. If vomiting recurs, wait 1-2 hours before trying clear liquids again. Once
you are retaining fluids without difficulty, try to increase the amount you take each hour, gradually (or
decrease the amount of time between sips).
After 24 hours without nausea, vomiting or diarrhea, or if hungry and not vomiting, you should try dry
toast, saltines, or white rice, with jelly or honey for energy.
Progress to soft, mildly flavored foods that are low in fiber until you are back to good health. You may
wish to use the “BRAT” diet as a guide: Bananas – Rice (white) – Applesauce – Tea and Toast.
Many people can temporarily lose the ability to digest milk sugar for 1-2 weeks after an episode of
gastroenteritis. Avoid milk products, oils and spices until you are feeling better – and resume them
gradually, as tolerated.
Throughout, you may use acetaminophen/ibuprofen for headache, fever, achy joints, etc. You may use gravol
(orally or rectally) for nausea. You may use kaopectate for diarrhea.
You should consult your physician if:
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diarrhea doesn’t stop after 5 days.
You have incessant vomiting
You have blood in stools or vomitus
You have black stools
You are dizzy.
STOP THE SPREAD OF GERMS THAT MAKE YOU AND OTHERS SICK!
Wash your hands with soap and water or clean with alcohol-based hand cleaner frequently during the
day, especially after using the washroom.
THESE ARE GUIDELINES ONLY. IF FOR ANY OTHER REASON YOU FEEL THAT
FURTHER ATTENTION IS NECESSARY, CONTACT STUDENT HEALTH SERVICES.
What is viral gastroenteritis?
NORWALK OUTBREAK in RESIDENCE – The IMPORTANCE of PARTNERSHIPS
Brenda Whiteside, Lynda Davenport & Heather Lane Vetere
University of Guelph
CACUSS Conference 2007
Viral gastroenteritis is an infection that results in vomiting and/or diarrhea. There are several types of viruses that
can cause these symptoms. The Norwalk virus is one of these viruses. The symptoms are usually a sudden onset of
vomiting or diarrhea. Some people may experience headache, fever and cramps. These symptoms can go away in a
short as one day, but may last up to 10 days.
Is viral gastroenteritis serious?
Most people who get viral gastroenteritis recover with no long term effects. The very young or elderly may need
treatment to correct or prevent dehydration.
Is this illness contagious?
The virus is spread from person to person by objects or hands contaminated by feces. This contamination can occur
when infected persons do not follow proper hand washing procedures after using the washroom. Outbreaks have
affected a large number of people on trains, on cruise ships, in summer camps and in health care facilities.
Can viral gastroenteritis be treated?
The most important treatment for this illness is to maintain hydration. Some physicians may recommend oral
rehydration solution for infants and young children. Antibiotics will have no effect on viruses and anti-diarrheal
medications may prolong the illness. There is no vaccine for this illness at this time.
How can I prevent viral gastroenteritis?
Hand washing is the best prevention. Wash your hands thoroughly after contact with other people, contaminated
surfaces or items, particularly fecally contaminated articles. Keep surfaces clean and disinfected and promptly wash
fecally soiled articles of clothing. The virus can live on surfaces for days which make it easy to transmit within a
household. It is not unusual for family members to become ill within hours of each other.
NORWALK OUTBREAK in RESIDENCE – The IMPORTANCE of PARTNERSHIPS
Brenda Whiteside, Lynda Davenport & Heather Lane Vetere
University of Guelph
CACUSS Conference 2007