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NEWS RELEASE · 23rd January 2012
Northern Health
Northern Health is advising Northwest BC residents that the region is experiencing a spike in the number of case of gastrointestinal illness.



What is gastrointestinal illness?

Gastrointestinal illness, often caused by Norovirus, is common this time of year. Symptoms include nausea, abdominal cramps, chills, fever, vomiting and/or diarrhea. These symptoms usually only last a day or two, but because of its highly contagious nature, it is easily spread from person-to-person in the community. Large gatherings or public facilities, such as schools, may aid in the spread of infection because of people being in close contact with each other.



What can I do to prevent the spread of this illness?

Community members can be instrumental in preventing the spread of gastrointestinal illness by:



Stay home if sick:

ˇ People who have had symptoms of gastrointestinal illness such as nausea, vomiting and/or diarrhea in the past 48 hours should stay at home, and avoid situations where they could easily pass the illness on to others, including public gatherings, work and school. It is especially important not to visit relatives or friends in long term care facilities or hospitals if you are ill or have had symptoms in the last 48 hours.

Proper hand washing:

ˇ Careful hand washing is one of the best ways to prevent the spread of disease. Always wash your hands well for at least 20 seconds with warm water and soap. Always wash your hands before and after using the washroom, before eating or preparing foods, and after helping someone who is ill (such as an ill child).

3. Clean surface areas:

ˇ Increase environmental sanitation by cleaning and disinfecting common touch surfaces such as door knobs, faucets, telephones, handrails, food contact surfaces, keyboards, etc.



For more information on gastrointestinal illness, residents are encouraged to visit www.healthlinkbc.ca or call 8-1-1.