The infectious vomiting and diarrhea bug sweeping the UK - some information you may not already know
Parents are being warned to be vigilant as Shigellosis vomiting bug outbreak hits schools.
The shigellosis virus is a highly contagious vomiting bug - which can also cause an unpleasant case of diarrhoea.
Not to be confused with Norovirus - also known as the Winter Vomiting Bug - shigellosis is most common among children in close proximity to each other, such as a school or childcare setting.
Shigellosis - also known as Shigella or bacillary dysentery - is highly infectious and is usually passed from person to person. It is caused by Shigella bacteria - which is closely related to Salmonella.
Anyone can catch it - but it is more common amongst children, particularly those in school or childcare settings.
The bug has some unpleasant effects, which are mainly;
The symptoms usually last around five to seven days.
The diarrhoea can also cause dehydration too.
Fortunately, although the symptoms are nasty, Shigella is rarely serious. There is no magic cure, so those unlucky enough to pick up the bug will have to let it run its course. But there are things that you can do to ease the effects.
Treatment is usually plenty of fluids to ensure that dehydration doesn’t occur. It is also recommended to use oral re-hydration solutions if necessary.
However, it is best to steer clear of anti-diarrhoea medications (such as Loperamide) as they can make symptoms much worse.
Over the counter painkillers can help relieve pain and reduce temperature.
Anyone with the infection should stay at home until at least 48 hours after the last episode of diarrhoea to minimize the risk to spreading the bacteria.
In cases where there is blood in the diarrhoea, antibiotics may be needed.
If a child contracts Shigellosis, it is important that the family GP is contacted, and any children that have caught the bug should stay at home for at least five days until tests confirm that they are clear of the infection.