Hygiene key in helping to prevent illness spread

Friday November 13, 2015 Written by Published in Health

The number of people suffering diarrhea and vomiting presenting at the Rarotonga Hospital outpatients department and the Tupapa Community clinic has risen in the last two weeks.


Age groups affected are 0 -50 years. Some sufferers have been admitted to hospital, most of them young children.

The source of the outbreak is suspected to be viral, and does not appear to be related to food or water, a statement from Community Health Services said yesterday.

However the disease is very infectious and easily spread between people.

“To prevent the spread of infections that cause diarrhoea, everyone should always maintain high standards of hygiene,” the statement said.

The key message was for people to practice everyday infection prevention actions:

• Hand hygiene: Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water after going to the toilet and before preparing or eating food

• Clean the toilet, including the handle and the seat, with disinfectant after each bout of diarrhoea.

• Avoid sharing towels, cutlery or utensils with other household members.

• Dispose of babies’ stools (poop) in the toilet or bury them and wash hands thoroughly.

The statement said the primary goal of treating any form of diarrhea – viral, bacterial, or non-infectious, was preventing dehydration or appropriately rehydrating patients.

Community Health Services advised people to drink at least two litres a day of fluids such as water, or sports drinks (adults only) to remain well hydrated.

In the case of young children, toddlers or infants presenting both diarrhea and vomiting, oral rehydration should be taken in small, frequent volumes (spoonfuls or small sips), the statement said. Breastfed infants should continue on breast milk.

Community Health advised sufferers to seek medical attention if symptoms get worse.

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