Ministry of Public Health: Safe Food Preparation during Carnival Helps Prevent Gastroenteritis

The Collective Prevention Services (CPS) a department within the Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labour, said on Thursday in connection with safe food preparation at home, or grabbing a bite from food kiosks; street market vendors; booth holders; and other points of sale, it is essential to observe safe food handling practices at any one of those locations in order for patrons to have a safe Carnival season.

Gastroenteritis, is the inflammation of the stomach and intestine, which is usually due to acute infection by viruses or bacteria or to food-poisoning toxins and causes vomiting and diarrhea. Laboratory testing is recommended to identify the specific virus associated to the gastroenteritis.

Unsafe food poses global health threats, endangering everyone. Infants, young children, pregnant women, the elderly and those with an underlying illness are particularly vulnerable.

Food can become contaminated at any point of production and distribution, and the primary responsibility lies with food producers and consumers. A large proportion of foodborne disease incidents are caused by foods improperly prepared or mishandled at home, or in food service establishments.

The associated symptoms with gastroenteritis are diarrhea, stomach cramps, vomiting, nausea, fever and headache. The most common symptoms are vomiting and repeated episodes of diarrhea (three or more episodes within 24 hours). To ensure proper diagnosis, care and treatment, consult your physician and for confirmation must be referred to the lab by the physician.

The infection can spread when bacteria found in faeces or vomit is transferred to other objects. Bacteria can be transferred through poor hygiene. It is spread through contamination of hands, objects or food infected with the aforementioned.

For example, if someone does not wash their hands properly after going to the toilet, any viruses or bacteria on their hands will be transferred to whatever they touch, such as glass, kitchen utensil or food.

To prevent the spread of the infection, wash your hands thoroughly after going to the toilet and before eating or preparing food; regularly clean hard surface/counters and wipe down with Clorox solution. Make it a routine habit to adhere to proper hand hygiene and cough etiquettes.

If you are a food handler or a care taker, and you are diagnosed with gastroenteritis, with your physician’s consultation, you should remain at home and practice good hygiene while you recuperate.

This will help to mitigate the further spread of gastroenteritis cases within the community. Be on the alert and help minimize the spread of diseases by taking the necessary hygienic and preventive steps. Proper hand hygiene helps in preventing bacteria and germs. Let us collectively have a safe, healthy, and enjoyable Carnival 2018.

For more information call CPS at 542-1122, 542-1222, 542-1322 and 542-1570; or email su**********@si************.org

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