Stop Gastro Spread … Let’s do it together!

Surviving Gastro

Gastro Survival Pack (Source: Childhood 101)

A particular nasty strain of gastro has ravaged Europe this Christmas and has already started to affect the Australian population. As our own winter gets closer the spread of gastro is likely to increase and more of us will be getting sick. We can take steps to reduce the risks though: by being prepared and following the basic guidelines below, we can all contribute to minimising this spread and help to make our community a happier, healthier place this winter.

Managing Gastro Spread in the Community
When you are sick with gastro, it is thought that you stay infectious for up to 48 hours post last symptom (i.e. last bout of vomiting). Therefore, to avoid infecting others in the community it is better to stay at home during this period.

  • The NSW Health Guidelines state that people sick with gastro should not return to work, school or day-care for 48 hours after symptoms have resolved.
  • Not listed in the guidelines but worth considering are avoiding public areas during this 48 hour period. For example, you may want to think twice before taking a child to the playground, go to playgroup, visit a swimming pool, visit a friend’s house or have friends round to yours.
  • Adults recovering from gastro may want to consider avoiding supermarkets where fresh food is on display, restaurants, bars and any other area where they could possibly pass on their infection.
  • Bear in mind that even after this 48 hour period, some diarrhoea may persist and it may still be infectious. Strict hand hygiene and flushing toilets with the lid closed can help minimise the chances of someone getting these germs.

Managing Gastro Spread at Home

Gastro can spread like wildfire through the family. Here are some pointers to help reduce the chances of everyone getting infected.
  • Carefully put soiled linen and washable products (like toys) into a plastic bag to transport to the washing machine. Avoiding to much handling will reduce the chances of the virus particles circulating in the air.
  • Wash at the highest/longest cycle possible and use a detergent.
  • Objects in surrounding areas where vomiting has occurred need to be cleaned with detergent and if they can tolerate it, wiped over with a bleach based solution.
  • Soiled Carpets shouldn’t be hoovered but washed with detergent and steam cleaned.
  • If using a third party to clean contaminated objects (i.e. inside a car, or laundry), they should be notified of the infection so they can employ self-protective measures.
  • If there is more than one bathroom per household it would be prudent to let the infected family members use one, and the unaffected, the other.
  • Keep washing your hands thoroughly when there is gastro in the home.
For more information and resources about stopping the spread of Gastro visit the Stop Gastro Resource Page.
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