These illnesses are sometimes confused with the influenza which is a respiratory illness. Symptoms of gastrointestinal illnesses are abdominal pain, body aches, headache, tiredness and low-grade fever. Symptoms typically last 24 hours to 60 hours and subside on their own, usually with no long term health effects.
Gastrointestinal illnesses can be spread by:
- Eating food or drinking liquids infected with the virus
- Touching infected surfaces or objects
- Having person-to-person contact
- Being present while someone is vomiting
- Sharing food or drink, or eating from the same utensils
- Caring for a sick person
- Shaking hands
- Not washing hands after using the bathroom or changing diapers and before eating prepared food
Persons can help reduce their risk of coming in contact with gastrointestinal illnesses by taking these precautionary steps:
- Staying home when ill to reduce the risk of infecting others.
- Frequently wash your hands, especially after toileting or changing diapers and before eating or preparing food.
- Carefully wash fruits and vegetables, and steam oysters before eating them.
- Thoroughly clean and disinfect contaminated surfaces immediately after an episode of diarrhea or vomiting by using a bleach-based household cleaner. If using liquid household bleach prepared daily, one part bleach to nine parts water (1:10 dilution) is recommended.
- Immediately remove and wash clothing or linens that may be contaminated with feces or vomitus (use hot water and soap).
- Flush or discard any vomitus and/or stool in the toilet and make sure that the surrounding area is kept clean.
If you have the above mentioned illness, we recommend staying home 24 hours beyond the time your symptoms resolve.
For more information, contact the Winnebago County Health Department at (815) 720-4000.