Due to a recent increase in gastrointestinal illness, many cropping up in Galveston County, I want to bring awareness to this disease.
The illness is called Shigellosis, an infectious disease caused by a group of bacteria called Shigella (shih-GEHL-uh). Most who are infected with Shigella develop diarrhea, fever, vomiting and stomach cramps starting a day or two after they are exposed to the bacteria.
Shigellosis usually resolves in five to seven days. Symptoms usually begin one to three days after exposure. Shigella bacteria are present in the stools of infected people while they are sick and for a week or two after recovery. Shigella infections are the result of the bacterium passing from stool or soiled fingers of one person to the mouth of another person. Transmission can also occur when swimming in or drinking contaminated water. This happens when basic hygiene and hand washing habits are inadequate.
Family members and playmates of such children are at high risk of becoming infected (outbreaks typically occur in daycare and preschools settings). If you should experience these symptoms contact your doctor as a precaution. Remember.... "ALWAYS WASH YOUR HANDS!-)"
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention describes the best way to wash your hands:
- Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), turn off the tap, and apply soap.
- Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Be sure to lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.
- Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. Need a timer? Hum the "Happy Birthday" song from beginning to end twice.
- Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.
- Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them.