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Health Care During Diarrhoea Season

The Western Cape Government Health, urges parents and caregivers to take special care of infants and children under the age of five during this diarrhoeal season. Diarrhoea disease is a major cause of childhood mortality in the Western Cape Province. Children under the age of 5 years and infants are particularly vulnerable to the disease. It is directly linked to poor hygiene and sanitation and most commonly caused by contaminated water and poor bottle hygiene in the preparation of formula feed.



Western Cape Health Minister, Theuns Botha, said that the sugar-salt solution is a simple way that can save a life. “Parents and care-givers should be aware how vulnerable our children are. Especially at this time we need to be on the lookout for the symptoms than can lead to diarrhoea. Washing hands regularly with soap and water is a good start.”
If your child suffers from diarrhoea or has a runny tummy, vomits or refuses to breastfeed, then a Sugar-Salt Solution is recommended.A mixture of 1 litre of clean water, 8 teaspoons of sugar and half a teaspoon of salt can be given to a child to drink regularly. However, should the signs persist; the child must be taken to the nearest clinic immediately. Diarrhoea can be prevented by washing hands regularly.
Parents should protect their families by following the basic steps to have safe and healthy meals:
• Clean: Wash hands, contact surfaces (e.g. kitchen counters) and utensils often to avoid the spread of bacteria.
Keeping hands clean is one of the most important steps you can take to avoid getting sick and spreading germs to others. Wash your hands 
with soap and clean running water for at least 20 seconds.
• Separate: Keep raw foods separate from cooked and ready-to-eat foods to avoid cross-contamination.
Keep children’s toys clean and do not allow them to share chew toys. Do not use the same cloth for cleaning the baby and doing dishes!
• Cook: Make sure you kill harmful bacteria by cooking foods to the proper internal temperature.
Chill: Keep cold foods cold. Bacteria can grow rapidly when food is allowed to sit in the so-called danger zone between 4°C (40°F) and 60°C
Use refrigerated leftovers as soon as possible, ideally within two or three days.
Handle and prepare food safely.
• Throw away: Rubbish, dirty water and animal droppings attract flies; flies travel, taking all kinds of bacteria with them.
Make sure that you place used disposable nappies, packaging from meat, used sanitary towels etc. into plastic bags before placing them in the bins.
Should your child develop diarrhoea, please visit the clinic immediately so that they can administer oral or intravenous hydration. This way you may be able to avoid a visit to the hospital.  Don’t wait in the queue, go straight to the receptionist and tell them that your baby has diarrhoea and/or vomiting.
Make sure that you have  the ingredients to make the Sugar Salt Solution.
The Sugar Salt Solution can also be taken by adults experiencing diarrhoea to replenish fluids that have been lost in the body.
Issued by the Directorate: Communications for Western Cape Government Health.
Darren Francis
Assistant Director: Communications
4 Dorp street, Tower building Cape Town
Tel:     021 483 6632
Fax:    021 483 6169
Cell:   083 430 3299



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