Ministry of Health notes rise in gastroenteritis cases in Saint Lucia

Ministry of Health notes rise in gastroenteritis cases in Saint Lucia

The Health, Wellness and Older People Department sees more people coming to hospitals with signs of stomach flu. This is because they watch many health problems closely using their disease surveillance process.

Compared to the last week, there has been a 14% growth in cases. It has been noticed that kids have taken the biggest hit, more than grown-ups in weeks before now. Many people who get sick suddenly throw up and have stomach troubles. These problems usually go away when treated with medicine for symptoms like this.

Acute stomach upset is when the tummy gets irritated and can be because of viruses, germs or bad things inside food. It can also happen due to harmful stuff in drugs used for other purposes. Signs of upset stomach are diarrhea, feeling sick, tossing your cookies, belly pain, hot body temperature or head hurting. These can feel like muscle discomfort and might include a fever too.

The germ Norovirus, also called "stomach flu", spreads easily. It's most common in winter and has made many people sick worldwide with stomach problems.

The public is reminded to remain mindful of the following measures to avoid contracting and spreading gastroenteritis:

• Clean your hands often and well by using soap and water, especially after throwing up, going to the toilet or before touching food.

• Do not make food for others if you are throwing up or having diarrhea;

• Do not eat undercooked foods;

• Clean dirty surfaces and things often to get rid of the virus or bacteria;

• If you are unwell, stay away from work or school until 24 hours after your symptoms go.

If you feel sick with a stomach bug, go to the closest health center for help. You might need to give a sample of your poop.

The Ministry also wants to remind people that we're in the flu season right now and some might feel breathing issues. So far, both respiratory syncytial virus and influenza type A have been found.

The public is encouraged to help stop the spread of respiratory illnesses by:

• Maintaining proper hand hygiene;

• Wash your hands very well after coughing or sneezing;

• Using a tissue or your elbow when you cough or sneeze.

• Wearing a mask when possible in busy places.

• Cleaning dirty surfaces and things often to get rid of the virus or bacteria.

• Not going to work or sending sick kids to school and daycare until their symptoms are gone;

• Stay away from people who could get very sick, like babies and older folks or those with weak immune systems until you feel better.

• Talk to a health worker if your sick-like symptoms don't go away or get worse.

Let's work together this holiday time to stop more people getting sick. Let's protect our health.

The health department of the government wants all people to be safe and have fun during this time. They also hope for good results in 2024.