Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Gastrointestinal illness circulating throughout South Zone

  • Residents reminded to take precautions to reduce spread of illness
Alberta Health Services

A recent increase in the number of gastrointestinal illness cases in the South Zone of Alberta Health Services (AHS) has prompted AHS to remind residents and visitors of important precautions to reduce the spread of illness.

Gastrointestinal illness is common year-round although it is more likely to occur in fall and winter. Individuals can be exposed to illness through swimming, food prepared by anyone with poor hand hygiene, improperly handled or cooked foods, or exposure to other ill individuals.

Symptoms almost always include diarrhea and/or vomiting and may include stomach cramps, muscle aches and low-grade fever. Symptoms usually last 48 to 72 hours and, in most cases, require no special treatment. However, this illness can be debilitating for the very young, the very old, and those with weakened immune systems.

To avoid illness:
  • Always wash your hands after using the bathroom; after providing care to an ill person; after handling soiled laundry; and before handling food.
  • Clean bathrooms and other household areas more frequently when people are ill to prevent the illness from spreading.

Anyone who is vomiting and/or has diarrhea should avoid the following activities until the symptoms are over:
  • Attending schools or child care facilities (until two days after symptoms stop).
  • Attending recreational facilities, including swimming pools (until two weeks after symptoms stop).
  • Attending work.
  • Visiting friends and relatives in seniors’ residences, continuing care facilities or hospitals.
  • Preparing food for others.

For more information or if you have symptoms, call Health Link at 811.

Alberta Health Services is the provincial health authority responsible for planning and delivering health supports and services for more than four million adults and children living in Alberta. Its mission is to provide a patient-focused, quality health system that is accessible and sustainable for all Albertans.

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