The cold winter climate and the year-end holidays are periods conducive to gastroenteritis epidemics. Here are five tips to prevent it.
1/ Wash your hands frequently
The bacterium responsible for gastroenteritis is transmitted through physical contact between people. As at the holiday season family or friends meetings are frequent, it is important to wash your hands regularly with soap and water for at least two minutes. Make sure the younger ones do the same. An antibacterial gel can also be used occasionally. Hand washing must also be done systematically before and after eating, after going to the toilet or after changing a diaper.
2/ Avoid sharing to limit the proliferation of bacteria
If someone around you has gastroenteritis, it is important not to use the same cutlery. You should also avoid sharing food and limiting contact with that person if it is still contagious. It is also not advisable to use the same bath towels since the microbes could be accommodated there. If you live under the same roof as a person who is suffering, care should be taken to store toothbrushes in separate areas as bacteria propagate easily.
3/ Cook food at an appropriate temperature to remove bacteria
Since bacterial gastroenteritis is usually caused by a food-borne infection, it is important to consider different food cooking recommendations. Those with high protein content, such as red meat, poultry and eggs, must be cooked at high temperatures to eliminate all bacteria. To avoid the creation or proliferation of other micro-organisms, the dishes must be refrigerated within 2 hours of preparation and ensure that the temperature of the refrigerator does not exceed 4 °c.
4/ Prepare meals on a clean work surface
Bacteria can easily be lodged on different kitchen surfaces: counter-tops, wood or plastic cutting boards, etc. It is best to use a preparation board for each type of food. If not, the surface should be cleaned with warm, soapy water after each use, mainly when meat has been prepared. It is also necessary to wash the fruits and vegetables before incorporating them in a dish, which will remove the microbes lodged on the surface of the products.
5/ Well organize your trip to spend a pleasant stay
Some countries have less stringent health standards than ours. If you are planning a stay abroad, it is advisable to take some precautions to ensure that it is in the best possible way. It is advisable to consume bottled beverages whether it be water, juices or soft drinks. In addition, the consumption of fruits and vegetables should be limited to those that have been peeled. Thus, bacteria that could have lodged on the surface are eliminated.
Some vaccines are also available to prevent typhoid fever and cholera, two common gastroenteritis-related infections in different countries.