Warning to parents after childcare centre outbreaks
NSW Health is today urging parents and carers to keep young children at home if they are sick.
The health warning comes after nearly 100 childcare centres reported gastroenteritis (gastro) outbreaks in August.
The government-owned healthdirect helpline has experienced an almost 30 per cent increase in calls about children with symptoms of diarrhoea or vomiting in NSW compared to the same period last year August 1 to 11 September.
"The number of children seeking treatment for the highly-contagious infection at EDs has also risen above usual levels, with 609 children seeking medical attention in (one) week," NSW Health's Keira Glasgow said.
"Infants or children in childcare or school who develop vomiting or diarrhoea should stay at home for at least 48 hours after their symptoms have stopped."
Gastro is often spread by direct contact with infected people and spreads easily if people haven't carefully washed their hands after using the toilet or before handling food, Ms Glasgow said.
"The best defence is to wash your hands thoroughly with soap and running water for at least 10 seconds before handling and eating food, and always wash your hands after using the toilet, changing nappies or assisting someone who has diarrhoea or vomiting," she said.
Anyone recovering from gastroenteritis has been warned to avoid visiting hospitals and aged care facilities to stop the spread of the infection to those most vulnerable.
Symptoms include: Vomiting, diarrhoea, nausea, stomach pains, fever, headaches, a reduction in appetite
What to expect: Gastro should only last for a few days. It doesn't usually require medication. Follow this link for more information about gasto.
Treatment: The most important thing to do is drink fluids - frequent sips are easier for children
Keep drinking regularly even if vomiting is a symptom
The commonwealth-funded Pregnancy, Birth and Baby service has advice on handwashing for children.