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Gastroenteritis

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Personal hygiene is the best way to minimise the spread of gastroenteritis. Hand washing for 20 seconds with soap and warm water, followed by effective drying for 20 seconds is required.

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Below is important information about looking after yourself and others if you get sick with gastroenteritis.

If you require further information please phone Healthline on 0800 611 116 for free 24-hour health advice within NZ.

Common symptoms of gastroenteritis are vomiting, diarrhoea and stomach pains. The organisms that cause gastroenteritis are highly infectious. Most people recover from gastroenteritis quickly but it can be serious in some, particularly if they become dehydrated. Children, elderly and people with weak immune systems are more likely to suffer serious illness.

Medical attention should be sought as soon as possible if the ill person:

  • Is a baby less than six months old
  • Is not drinking
  • Is not urinating (‘passing wee’) or passing less urine than usual
  • Has dry lips and mouth and/or cold hands and feet Is unusually lethargic, drowsy or irritable
  • Keeps vomiting or passing lots of diarrhoea
  • Has blood or mucus in their faeces (poo)
  • Has a high fever
  • Has unexpected symptoms (eg pain when passing urine, headache, ongoing stomach pains, etc)
  • Has other health problems
  • Does not appear to be getting better.


People with mild gastroenteritis can be looked after at home. The main treatment is to keep the sick person drinking plenty of fluids.

More information is available form the Health Navigator website.

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General information about Palmerston North Hospital.