An increase in gastrointestinal illnesses has the Lexington-Fayette County Health Department encouraging parents, schools, daycare centers, food service workers and healthcare providers to take precautionary actions to prevent its spread.
Shigellosis is a highly contagious form of diarrhea caused by Shigella bacteria and is spread through person-to-person contact. Symptoms last 48-72 hours and include severe diarrhea, fever and stomach cramps. To prevent Shigellosis, the health department offers the following tips:
- Wash hands with soap carefully and frequently, especially after going to the bathroom, after changing diapers and before preparing food or beverages.
- Do not prepare food for others while ill with diarrhea.
- Sick children and adults should stay home until cleared by a doctor to return to school or work.
- Keep children with diarrhea out of childcare settings and common play areas.
- Supervise hand-washing of toddlers and small children after they use the toilet.
- Dispose of soiled diapers properly.
- Disinfect diaper-changing areas after using them.
- Avoid swallowing water from ponds, lakes or untreated pools.