The Ministry of Health alerts the general public on influenza like illness and acute gastroenteritis
As effects of the 2010 flu season intensifies, the Ministry of Health is advising the general public to maintain good hygiene and follow instructions given in order to prevent the spread of communicable diseases such as influenza like illness and acute gastroenteritis on the island.
Seasonal flu which is a contagious respiratory illness that may cause mild to severe illnesses is caused by a flu virus while Gastroenteritis is a condition that causes irritation and inflammation of the stomach and intestines. It is caused by eating food or drinking water which is contaminated by a bacteria or virus. Lack of or improper hand washing, especially after using the toilet or handling of dirty diapers also causes the spread of Gastroenteritis from one person to another.
Therefore, the Ministry is advising anyone who may be experiencing flu like symptoms (i.e. fever, cough, sore throat, headache, chill and vomiting) or acute diarrheal symptoms (i.e. 3 episodes or more of loose bowel within 24 hours) to seek medical attention at the nearest health centre/facility.
The health officials are further advising any who may be experiencing flu like symptoms toavoid being in crowded place and in close contact of others, use clean tissue to cover nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing, place used tissue in a garbage bin after single use, wash hands with soap and water and/or use hand sanitizer often and avoid taking aspirin for fever.
In case of diarrheal disease with three episodes or more of loose bowel in 24 hours you should submit stool samples to your nearest health care facility packaged in a clean, clear and tightly capped plastic container labelled with your name, age, gender and address on the container.
Infected persons should also drink a lot of fluids to prevent dehydration, bearing in mind that oral rehydration brought about through the intake of fluid, coconut water, diluted fruit juice or plain boiled water is always highly recommended.
Health officials are also encouraging the public to practice good hygiene in order to help curb the spread of the illness, by washing their hands thoroughly with soap and water or use an alcohol based hand sanitizer after using the toilet, before preparing food and drinks and before breast feeding or handling infants, children or the elderly. Remember your health is your responsibility.