Barbadians are being urged yet again to take the necessary steps to reduce the spread of gastroenteritis, commonly called "gastro", on the island.

According to officials at the Ministry of Health, this country was approaching the time of year where large numbers of persons are affected with this illness and the necessary precautions need to be taken in order to prevent its spread.

One way persons are encouraged to do so is through washing hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds after: using the toilet; having diarrhoea or vomiting; changing diapers; touching stool-soiled or vomit-soiled materials, toilets or surfaces; before handling food or drink; after cleaning up vomit or diarrhea from someone who is ill with gastroenteritis, and before eating.

Contaminated surfaces should also be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected immediately after an episode of the illness, by using a bleach-based household cleaner.

Gastroenteritis is an infection of the lining of the digestive tract, caused by bacteria or a virus, and usually lasts for one to 10 days. Persons can manage the illness through drinking large quantities of liquids to prevent dehydration; eating bland foods like bananas and potatoes, as well as drinking clear soup and resting as much as possible.

Those who contract gastroenteritis should see a doctor immediately if there is blood in their diarrhoea; they cannot stop vomiting; they have not urinated all day; there is trouble breathing, they have a very fast pulse or heartbeat, or if they feel faint.?? Medical attention should also be sought if the eyes or mouth are dry or if there is a fever.??


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