REHYDRATE THE RIGHT WAY: When recovering from gastro, it's good to avoid caffeine and alcohol for several days.
REHYDRATE THE RIGHT WAY: When recovering from gastro, it's good to avoid caffeine and alcohol for several days. Samantha Elley

Whitsunday community urged to prevent spread of gastro

THE WHITSUNDAY community is being asked not to visit patients at Proserpine Hospital unless it's absolutely essential due to an increased number of patients with gastroenteritis.

Mackay Hospital and Health Service Chief Medical Officer Professor Philip Reasbeck said limiting visitors and non-urgent Emergency Department presentations would help stop more people from becoming unwell.

"People should see their GP or call 13 HEALTH for non-urgent cases. If you have gastro symptoms you should consider the best place to seek treatment such as your GP or pharmacist,” Prof Reasbeck said.

"Gastro is usually spread from one infected person to another and its symptoms often include diarrhoea, vomiting, abdominal pains, fever, general weakness and headaches.

"We are asking people not to visit patients in the hospital unless it is absolutely necessary.

"The best way to reduce the risk of infection to yourself and others is to practice good hand hygiene using soap and water before handling and eating food, after using the toilet or assisting someone who has diarrhoea or vomiting.”

Prof Reasbeck said there were six inpatients with gastro symptoms and more had been seen in Emergency but not admitted over the past two weeks.

He said gastro spread easily from person to person, particularly if hands were not carefully washed.

"Children, young people and the elderly are most at risk of complications associated with gastro.

"People who have gastro symptoms should rest and drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration and visiting public areas until at least 48hrs after their last episode of symptoms.”

A fact sheet for the public about gastro is available from Queensland Health at https://www.health.qld.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0014/154013/gp-tph-gastro.pdf


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