Gastroenteritis Outbreak At Geriatric Hospital Settling

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The Geriatric Hospital has instituted a series of measures aimed at controlling the current gastroenteritis outbreak at that institution and, as a result, "things are settling down".?? ??????????????????

The island’s Chief Medical Officer (CMO), Dr. Joy St. John, gave this update today and pointed out that not only have visits been restricted but the day care service has also been curtailed until the outbreak has subsided.

"In terms of the staff, we are cohorting our nursing staff and our cleaners so that if you are working on a ward that’s infected, you are not supposed to move throughout the hospital.?? The doctors are having daily meetings, reviewing the status of the outbreak generally and the conditions of patients individually, to ensure that no one deteriorates and that appropriate action is taken immediately," she added.

The senior health official noted it was hoped was that the situation could be brought under control soon.?? "We must remember that in a vulnerable population like the Geriatric Hospital, whatever is happening to you and I outside, we might be able to fight it off quickly, [but] they [the patients] will be more vulnerable," she explained.??

Persons are reminded that along with the elderly, infants are also particularly vulnerable.

She advised:?? "It is very important for parents of young children to pay attention to signs of dehydration, especially if a child is experiencing vomiting and diarrhea.??

There is a greater risk because of the volume of fluids and electrolytes that are being lost.?? A baby can’t tell you that it is feeling thirsty, but you can monitor the amount of urine that is passed by a child in a pamper.?? You can also look to see if the child is crying and tears are flowing because you can get a level of dehydration where there are no more tears.?? Or the skin and the eyes can show a level of dehydration and a child will appear lethargic.?? You don’t ever want your baby to get to that level of dehydration because that is a dangerous stage."??

The CMO underlined that the illness was not only unpleasant but could also be dangerous.?? If you experience a period of two days or more of vomiting and diarrhea, and there is an inability to retain fluids, seek a doctor’s attention immediately.

The health official cautioned that oral rehydration fluids or salts should be the first line of defence, as opposed to Imodium and Lomotil.?? However, a mild case of gastroenteritis can be managed at home but it was not wise to give a person with the illness milk, milk products or some fruit juices, such as apple and grape juice, which can prolong bouts of diarrhea.??

Gastroenteritis (also known as gastric flu or stomach flu) is inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract, involving both the stomach and the small intestines and resulting in acute diarrhea and vomiting. It can be transferred by contact with contaminated food and water. The inflammation is caused most often by an infection from certain viruses or less often by bacteria, their toxins, parasites, or an adverse reaction to something in the diet.????

lbayley@barbados.gov.bb

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