a. WHAT IS GASTROENTERITIS?

Gastroenteritis is called vomiting and diarrhea. There is a really bad outbreak of Gastroenteritis in SVG now – seems to rapidly cause people to lose body fluid and electrolytes (useful body substances). Excessive loss of body fluid and electrolytes is called dehydration and can lead to death.

Those with the greatest risk of dehydration include infants, young children, older adults, and people with weak immune systems.  The immune system can become weakened by conditions such as malnutrition, cancer, cancer treatments and diabetes to name a few. 

Read more in detail about Gastroenteritis here

b. SIGNS OF DEHYDRATION

The signs of dehydration in adults include:

  • dry skin
  • excessive thirst
  • infrequent urination
  • dark-colored urine
  • lethargy, dizziness, or faintness

Signs of dehydration in babies and children include:

  • dry eyes, mouth and tongue
  • lack of tears when crying
  • no wet diapers for 3 hours or more
  • high fever
  • unusually cranky or drowsy behavior
  • sunken eyes, cheeks, or soft spot in the skull

When people are dehydrated, their skin does not flatten back to normal right away after being gently pinched and released (National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse 2011)

 

c. HOW IS GASTROENTERITIS SPREAD?  BY

  • drinking contaminated water
  • eating food contaminated by the virus or germ
  • swallowing airborne particles that contain viruses
  • sharing food, drink, or eating utensils with infected people
  • touching contaminated surfaces or objects  then touching the mouth
  • handling the feces/stool  and vomit of  infected persons. These include food handlers. Pay attention. Are you buying food from people who  practice hand washing?

 

d. REPLACING BODY FLUID IS THE FIRST LINE OF TREATMENT

  • Prepare a  homemade mix of 1 liter boiled water; 8 teaspoons sugar and 1 teaspoon salt) OR
  • mix 1 packet of commercially prepared Oral Rehydration Salts in 1 liter of cooled, boiled water. refrigerate and use within 24 hours.  WHO (2006) recommends  spoon feeding ORS to infants
  • drink frequent, small amounts as tolerated if vomiting
  • Continue to breast-feed
  • other fluids include Pedialyte and other solutions containing sodium and potassium
  • Avoid milk, sodas, caffeinated beverages, fruit juices or gelatins (Mayo Clinic 2011)
  • Seek medical attention urgently if the vomiting and diarrhea continues
  • Read more about body fluid replacement  (UNICEF 2004)

e. REDUCE RISK

You can reduce the risk of getting or spreading viral gastroenteritis by:

– washing  hands thoroughly with soap and warm water for 20 seconds:

  • after using the bathroom
  • after handling diapers and
  • before eating or handling food

– disinfecting contaminated surfaces with a mixture of  1 part household bleach to 10 equal parts of water. Use gloves when doing so.

– avoiding foods or liquids that might be contaminated.

– boiling water before drinking ***

f. REBUKE THE PLAGUE

I started rebuking the plague last week.  People stopped plagues in the Bible by:

  • the blood (Exodus 12: 13)
  • intercession (Exodus 16: 46 -48; 2 Samuel 24: 25)
  • right living (Numbers 31: 16)

Blessings!

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