This alert is due to an increase in reports from local medical facilities in the Virgin Islands.
Gastroenteritis is a condition that causes irritation and inflammation of the stomach and intestines.
This is typically caused by a bacteria, virus or parasite in spoiled/contaminated food, unclean water or dirty/unwashed hands. If untreated, gastroenteritis can cause death in young children less than five years old.
Symptoms of this illness include one or more of the following: diarrhea, vomiting, nausea and stomach upset. The affected person may also have headache, fever, and abdominal cramps, referred to as stomachaches. Diarrhea and vomiting can cause dehydration especially in small children.
Residents are urged to watch for signs of dehydration, such as dry skin and a dry mouth, feeling lightheaded, and being really thirsty.
"Should you or your child exhibit signs or symptoms of gastroenteritis, contact your family physician," the Health Minister urges.
According to health officials, treatment usually depends on the cause, but may include antibiotics, if bacteria are the source; fluids and glucose-electrolyte solutions, like Oral Rehydration Fluid (ORF) to replace the water and electrolytes lost as a result of vomiting or diarrhea.
It was pointed out that Gastroenteritis is easily spread. However, there are several steps one can take to lower your risk of getting gastro and spreading it to others.
"Persons who suspect they have gastroenteritis are encouraged to stay home from work and keep sick children home from school or childcare for at least 48 hours after the last symptom of gastroenteritis," Health Officials stated.
Embrace what you don’t know, especially in the beginning, because what you don’t know can become your greatest asset. It ensures that you will absolutely be doing things different from everybody else.