AHS warns of gastrointestinal illness circulating in Edmonton zone

Alberta Health Services is reminding Edmontonians to take precautions to stop the spread of illnesses after more than double the amount of gastrointestinal illness outbreaks were reported this fall than last.

Since Sept. 1, 47 outbreaks have been reported in Edmonton. During the same time period last year, 18 were reported.

Gastrointestinal illnesses are common year-round, though AHS said they’re more likely to occur during the fall and winter.

Symptoms almost always include diarrhea and/or vomiting and may include stomach cramps, muscle aches and low-grade fever. Symptoms will typically last 48 to 72 hours and usually require no special treatment.

AHS warns that this type of illness can be especially debilitating to the very young, the very old and those with weakened immune systems.

Anyone experiencing vomiting should avoid going out in public until the symptoms are over, AHS said.

People can be exposed to the illness through individuals that are sick, food prepared by anyone with poor hand hygiene, improperly handled or cooked foods, or swimming in contaminated water, according to AHS.

To avoid getting sick, AHS is reminding residents to always wash their hands after using the washroom, providing care to an ill person, after handling soiled laundry and before handling food.

The organization also recommends cleaning bathrooms and other household areas more frequently if someone is sick to prevent the illness from spreading.

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