How to avoid catching the contagious vomiting and diarrhoea bug sweeping Ireland

People have been warned in the past few days about a contagious vomiting and diarrhoea bug sweeping the UK and Ireland.

That bug is called shigellosis or shigella and while anyone is susceptible to the infection, it's more common in young children than it is adults - writes dublinlive.ie.

Parents have been warned to be vigilant after an outbreak in both Ireland and the UK, the Coventry Telegraph reports .

The symptoms can be rather nasty but here is how to best avoid catching the bug so you won't have to deal with its affects.

How can I reduce my risk of getting it?

Practising good hand-washing is key here. Wash your hands thoroughly before preparing food or eating, after going to the toilet and after changing nappies.

If you have the infection, avoid preparing food for others and wash your hands frequently.

It is advisable to stay at home until you have been symptom-free for 48 hours.

What gets rid of the bug?

Medication is not usually needed as the bug goes away within five to seven days.

Occasionally, admission to hospital is needed if symptoms are severe, or if complications develop.

Medicines to reduce the diarrhoea (such as loperamide) should NOT be used if you have shigella. This is because they can make the symptoms worse.

Paracetamol or ibuprofen is useful to ease a high temperature (fever) or headache.

Who catches the bug?

The highest rate of shigellosis is observed among children under four years old.

In adults, the male-to-female ratio in the UK is as high as 4.7 to 1. This is believed to be due to sexual transmission among men who have sex with men.

How can you stop it spreading?

  • Wash your hands thoroughly after going to the toilet. Ideally, use liquid soap in warm running water but any soap is better than none. Dry properly after washing
  • If a potty has to be used, wear gloves when you handle it, dispose of the contents into a toilet, then wash the potty with hot water and detergent and leave it to dry
  • Don't share towels and flannels
  • Don't prepare or serve food for others
  • Regularly clean with disinfectant the toilets that you use.
  • With hot water and detergent, wipe the flush handle, toilet seat, bathroom taps, surfaces and door handles at least once a day. Keep a cloth just for cleaning the toilet (or use a disposable one each time)
  • Stay off work, school, college, etc, until at least 48 hours after the last episode of diarrhoea or vomiting
  • Avoid contact with other people as far as possible during this time

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