Public Health Announcement – Cases of Vomiting and Diarrhoea

The Health Services Directorate has been treating an increasing number of cases of vomiting and diarrhoea.  If you have contracted viral gastroenteritis or ‘the bug’ as it has been termed locally:

  • It is important to stay hydrated.  Drink lots of fluids (for example, water or squash).  Take small sips if you are feeling queasy
  • Eat when you feel able to – you do not need to eat or avoid any specific foods
  • Stay at home and get plenty of rest
  • Take paracetamol if you are in discomfort.  This can be obtained over the counter – please follow the instructions on the label
  • Rehydration solution can be taken as per instructions on the label. This can be purchased over the counter
  • Speak to the Pharmacist via tel. 22500 for further advice
  • Micro-organisms capable of causing diarrhoea and /or vomiting are transmitted mainly by direct methods.  It is therefore very important to wash your hands frequently with soap and water to help avoid spreading the infection
  • Handwashing must also happen before and after handling food
  • Adhering to strict handwashing measures will also protect people around you.

These simple steps are generally effective in managing cases of vomiting and diarrhoea.  Viral gastroenteritis is a self-limited condition and generally does not need medical intervention.

The Health Services Directorate therefore urges the public to only seek medical assistance in severe cases.  For example:

  • If you are unable to keep down liquids and are at risk of becoming dehydrated
  • If you have had onset of diarrhoea not associated with existing condition (more than three episodes in a 24-hour period) or vomiting for more than two days
  • If you experience blood in your diarrhoea
  • If you experience a fever of more than 38oC.
  • If there are persisting symptoms in the extreme ages (less than two years old and more than 80 years old).

In cases such as these, you are requested to attend the General Hospital.  Please alert our receptionist or the nurse on duty to the nature of the problem.  You will be directed to the flu pod for assessment.  This is an important infection control measure to help prevent spread of ‘the bug’ to patients in hospital.

The staff in the Health Services Directorate are only human and unfortunately some of our team have also contracted ‘the bug’.  They are following the advice to stay home and stay hydrated.  As a result, we have had to prioritise resources to maintain services to our in-patients at the General Hospital and to maintain our emergency services.

We therefore request the public that during the week commencing 1 November 2021 to please only access our services for priority matters.  Delays are expected in outpatients and in elective surgeries. 

Your patience and understanding at this time is appreciated.

31 October 2021

St Helena Government Communications Hub

Telephone: 22470