Gastro-intestinal Outbreak Hits Prince George
Prince George, B.C. – Northern Health is advising that gastrointestinal illness is circulating in Prince George and is taking a toll on staff and patients at University Hospital of Northern BC.
Northern Health is asking that visits to patients at UHNBC be avoided. The health authority says if the situation is urgent and visitors feel they must enter the hospital, you should only do so if you are feeling well. Visitors who have recently had GI symptoms are urged to refrain from going to the hospital until they have been symptom-free for at least 48 hours.
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.
Northern Health offers these suggestions for preventing the spread of GI:
- Stay home if sick:
- 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:
· 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).
- Clean surface areas:
· 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.
While emergency services are available 24/7, hospitals may experience higher than normal volumes at various times of the year. NH emergency rooms tend to patients who have experienced a sudden and/or unusual change in their health. This includes, but isn’t limited to, breathing difficulties, severe bleeding or pain, broken bones, chest pain, overdoses and eye injuries.