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. Anyone with symptoms should contact their healthcare provider for diagnosis and treatment.
“With this illness and the flu spreading throughout Lexington and central Kentucky, it’s important for people to remember to use good hand-washing practices,” said Kevin Hall, LFCHD spokesman.
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.
For more information on Shigellosis, contact the epidemiology department of the Lexington-Fayette County Health Department at (859) 899-2437. You can also “like” the health department on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/LFCHD, or follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/LFCHD.