Did you know most people do not know the appropriate quarantine period for gastro?

The amount of times I have heard "Oh he/she spewed last night, but is fine now." makes my blood boil. Most people's carelessness and lack of common sense is what leads to children passing on this infectious virus.

Did you know gastro can cause serious harm to some people including babies and the elderly? It's really not just as simple as a tummy bug in everyone's case.

So here are some helpful guidelines and tips to help you and to help others. And if you see someone who is careless EDUCATE THEM it is the only way to stop this virus from being as rampant as it is.

The incubation period for most virus is between 24-48 hours however it can be longer and sometimes you won't know how long it is if you do not know who was the carrier that infected your child. Generally as a rule you should be cautious for the same time period as incubation post the infected child's last spew or last bout of diarrhea. For example if DS were to contract gastro within 36 hours, I would need to wait at least 36 hours after his last spew/diarrhea to be sure that I or anyone else in my family had not contracted the virus. In this time it is important to avoid restaurants, public places, elderly, babies etc I personally keep my children away from everyone for that time including School/Kinder. This is one of the big reasons why it gets passed on because people find this type of quarantine to be a hinder or a pain and refuse to do it. Another thing people don't know is that children can have diarrhea for up to 4 days post the last vomit which means during that time they are STILL highly contagious.

If someone in your house has contracted the virus make sure you do not put your hands in or anywhere near your mouth to prevent contracting the virus.

If you have antibacterial gel wash your hands and use it before preparing or eating food, make sure all members of the household do the same.

Wipe down door handles, light switches etc with disinfectant.

If possible try to ensure that the person who is infected with the virus uses one bathroom whilst the rest of the family use another. Clean toilets regularly to ensure that the virus does not pass on to other family members.

All bedding or soiled clothing must be washed separately to any other washing and if possible disinfect machine after use.
The Following Information is from the SA Children, Youth & Womens Health Service

Have your baby or child checked by a doctor
  • When babies and children refuse to feed or drink, and vomit and/or have a lot of diarrhoea, (8 to 10 or more watery bowel actions) they can lose a lot of water from their body and they can become dehydrated. This can cause them to be very ill.
  • A baby should usually be seen within a few hours of becoming unwell (refusing to feed, vomiting or having runny poo). It may be safe to wait a little longer for an older child, but you have the right to ask for your child to be seen at any time if you are worried.
  • If the child is dehydrated, she may need extra fluids (for example through a tube into the stomach) as well as extra drinks.
  • It is difficult to tell how dehydrated a child is unless she is seen by a doctor or health care worker. Signs that doctors look for include being unwell and drowsy, dry lips and mouth, decreased urine (fewer wees).
  • If your child is not getting better, or is becoming more unwell, go back to your doctor.
  • Gastro can spread to other people in the doctor?s waiting room, so let the staff know your child probably has gastro and leave other children at home if possible.


Breast fed babies
  • Breast feeding should continue during gastro because:
  • breast milk has the food and water in it that babies need and their bodies can get what they need from it even when they are sick
  • breastfeeding can be very comforting for a sick child.
  • However extra drinks are needed to replace the extra water lost by vomiting and diarrhoea, and these need to be clear drinks. (see Extra drinks; clear fluids below).
  • Keep giving feeds and drinks even if the baby is vomiting. He will usually keep down some of the breastmilk and drinks.
  • Keep giving extra drinks while the baby is vomiting or has diarrhoea.
  • Do not give medicines to stop vomiting or diarrhoea.
  • If the baby gets more unwell, becomes drowsy, refuses to drink, goes on vomiting, has a lot of diarrhoea, fewer wet nappies or does not get better fairly quickly (within a day or so), the baby should be seen again by a doctor.


Formula fed babies and young children
  • It is now thought best for babies and young children on infant formula (bottle fed babies and children) to stay on their formula and, as well, have extra drinks of clear fluid.
  • In the past parents were often advised to stop formula, but it seems that babies and young children recover more quickly if they can continue to have their normal milk.
  • Offer small amounts of milk often, and extra clear fluids.
  • Keep giving feeds and drinks even if the baby is vomiting. She will usually keep down some of the milk and drinks.
  • If your baby will not drink milk, or goes on vomiting, give only clear fluids for a few hours.
  • If you have needed to stop your baby having formula, start giving it to her again the next day.
  • Keeping a baby or child on just clear drinks for more than a couple of days can slow down her recovery and itself cause diarrhoea.
  • Do not give medicines to stop vomiting or diarrhoea.
  • If the baby gets more unwell, becomes drowsy, refuses to drink, goes on vomiting, has a lot of diarrhoea, fewer wet nappies or wees, or does not get better fairly quickly (within a day or so), the baby should be seen again by a doctor.




Older children with gastro
  • Can continue to eat if they are hungry, but many will not eat
  • If the child was well fed before he became ill, it will not harm him if he does not eat for a day or two, but he needs to have drinks.
  • Give clear fluids for the first day. Even if he vomits some of the drinks, he will usually keep some of it down.
  • Give lots of small drinks often.
  • Sometimes children will suck on small iceblocks made from the clear fluids.
  • When he starts to feel hungry, foods like toast without butter or margarine, fruit such as pear or banana, rice, potato and chicken are often well accepted. Milk and milk products such as yoghurt can also be given.
  • Keeping a child off food for several days can itself cause diarrhoea.
  • Don't try any new foods while the child has gastro and for the next few days.
  • Do not give medicines that stop vomiting or diarrhoea.
  • See the doctor again if your child continues to be unwell, is refusing to drink, and/or still vomits. Also check with the doctor if diarrhoea lasts more than a few days.