26 September 2023

Parents targeted in gastro warning

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Parents and carers are being urged by NSW Health to keep young children at home if they are sick due to an outbreak of viral gastro cases.

Acting Manager of Enteric and Zoonotic Diseases at NSW Health, Keira Glasgow, said the warning was prompted by an increase in gastroenteritis outbreaks at childcare centres across the State and a high number of children aged under five seeking treatment at emergency departments.

“Nearly 100 childcare centres reported outbreaks of gastro in August, double the average for this time of year,” Ms Glasgow said.

She said gastro was often spread by direct contact with an infected person.

“It spreads easily between people if they haven’t carefully washed their hands after using the toilet or before handling food,” she said.

“The best defence is to wash your hands thoroughly with soap and running water for at least 10 seconds before handling and eating food, and always wash your hands after using the toilet, changing nappies or assisting someone who has diarrhoea or vomiting.”

Ms Glasgow said infants and children in childcare or school who developed vomiting or diarrhoea should stay at home for at least 48 hours after their symptoms have stopped.

She said symptoms include nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, fever, abdominal pain, headache and muscle aches.

“They can take up to three days to develop and usually last between one or two days, sometimes longer.”

Ms Glasgow said anyone recovering from gastroenteritis should avoid visiting hospitals and aged care facilities to avoid spreading the infection to those most vulnerable.

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