How long should I take off after being sick with Gastro?

 

The general consensus, at least at the countries I’ve looked at, specify at least a 48 hour waiting period before returning to work/school and so on, post Gastroenteritis caused by Norovirus.

NSW Health Guidelines state a general 48 hour waiting period: “Anyone with vomiting or diarrhoea should rest at home and not attend work, school or child-care or visit a residential care facility until vomiting and diarrhoea have stopped for 48 hours.” (Ref below)

But Public Health policy in Western Australia and Queensland is different and states that children and adults should not return to day-care, school or work until only 24 hours have passed from the last symptom experienced.

In Queensland exceptions apply to food handlers and day care teachers who are told to wait 48 hours.

UK Policy is 48 hours.

US Policy appears to be 48-72 hours.

The CDC (Centre for Disease Control) state that people are still infectious for at least three days post infection.

Just to Confuse You All

Please note an inconsistency here in one NSW Health document (page 14) that states that children should wait 24 hours before returning to day-care: http://www0.health.nsw.gov.au/resources/publichealth/infectious/diseases/pdf/hospital_pack.pdf

Not only does this document go against the NSW Health Guidelines but also the Australian Department of Health’s “Staying Healthy at Day-care Policy” which recommends children stay away from day-care until 48 hours has passed from the last episode of vomiting and diarrhoea/loose stool. I’m presuming it’s an error and will email them about it today.

References, Resources and Guidelines

http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvrd/revb/gastro/norovirus-keyfacts.htm

http://www.health.nsw.gov.au/factsheets/infectious/norovirus.html

Click to access 26697.pdf

http://www.public.health.wa.gov.au/2/600/2/norovirus_infection_fact_sheet.pm

http://www.sesiahs.health.nsw.gov.au/Public_Health_Alerts/NoroVirus.asp

http://www.wales.nhs.uk/sitesplus/888/page/43919

Click to access ch43poster4.pdf

Ode To Augmentin Antibiotics

Augmentin AntibioticsDon’t judge me by my amateur poetry skills. Although I’ll have you know that once a upon a day I was actually quite excellent at writing poetry, at least my mum thought so.

This poem was written last winter admist a haze of sleep deprived weeks of repeated colds and subsequent ear infections, (my kids, not me) that, without the hard work of Augmentin antibiotics I don’t know how we would have pulled through.

Glossary is below for non-health care professionals. Please feel free to add a stanza in the comments box!

ODE To Augmentin

Augmentin, my darling Augmentin.

You are more efficacious

(For infection)

Than…Gabapentin…?

 Hmm, terrible start, let’s try again:

Clavulanic Acid and Amoxycillin

A combination from heaven.

Superior, to one

 of mostly penicillin.

(can I add: ‘These are the perfect

times to fall ill-in?’)

It’s true, you

are my favourite antibiotic .

Without you, my kids stay sick.

And I,

jaded,

neurotic.

I have no fear of antibiotic resistance!

(bacterial secondaries are the

bane of my existence)

That rhinovirus in winter,

always charges one step too far.

Out comes the tongue depressor,

“kiddo-

say ahhhhhhh”

Not to mention that

Chesty cough-

In a flash, Augmentin, you diminish

The staphylococc (us)

Two doses can be all it takes

To be: Ta da!! Normothermic!

And a smile

 Back on my kids’ face.

Non-specific, broad spectrum,

but to Me, Augmentin,

you are more precious than

Electrum.

God damn it, get me a script!

Make it a repeat!

For you are my ticket

To a full night’s sleep.

Glossary:

Gabapentin: Isn’t an antibiotic, it’s a drug for the Nervous System, but it was the only drug I could think of that rhymed with Augmentin.

Clavulanic Acid and Amoxycillin: These are the crucial ingredients to Augmentin that make it my “fave” antibiotic. The clavulanic acid is not an antibiotic but a Beta Lactamase Inhibitor which helps the amoxycillin kill off the bacteria.

Antibiotic Resistence: Well this isn’t actually a laughing matter but a real issue, and I DO care about it. But seriously, last winter, my girls were so sick I’d have tried anything to get them better.

Bacterial Secondaries: This is the name for a bacterial infection that grows after/with a viral infection. For example, when a cold leads to an ear or chest infection.

Rhinovirus: A type of cold virus. ‘Rhino’ referring to its effects on the nose. Not Rhinocerous, like I’ve implied.

Staphylococcus: A type of bacteria that can cause chest infections.

Normothermic: This is when your temperature is in the normal range and you are not “febrile”.

Broad Spectrum: This is a term given to antibiotics that can kill off a wide range of bacteria. They are often the first port of call for an obvious bacterial infection that hasn’t had a culture done to determine the specific strain. After this is done, a more specific antibiotic can be given if the broad spectrum one hasn’t worked.

Electrum: A precious commodity from Ancient Egypt, it was a combination of Gold and Silver and was used on the tips of the Pyramids. See my kids trilogy “The Pharaoh Prophecies” if you love Ancient Egypt.

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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