Administration at Windsor Regional Hospital is advising the public to take precautions against a gastrointestinal virus which has been contracted by about 15 staff members.
Erika Vitale, manager of infection prevention and control for the hospital, said the illness is not unusual in the winter months. She recommends people regularly wash their hands with soap and water to prevent spreading the virus. An alcohol-based rub with at least 70 per cent ethanol can also be used, she said.
Symptoms include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal cramps and sometimes a fever and usually last for 24 to 72 hours, Vitale said.
“If you are at home and have someone sick at home, you want to make sure you’re cleaning surfaces in your bathroom or wherever someone way have had an episode of vomiting,” she said.
When a patient admits to the hospital, they will be asked about the symptoms and staff will wear gloves and gowns if they are needed. Vitale said people should try to stay away from others and out of the public if they have the symptoms.
“Once you’ve stopped your symptoms, stay away for 24 hours,” she said. “Try to make sure that you’re not incidentally spreading it to your co-workers when you’re sharing coffee or doughnuts in the lounge.”
There is no specific treatment for the virus, but Vitale said drinking lots of fluids staying inside will help because those with the illness can become dehydrated.
Hospital CEO David Musyj contracted the virus about a week ago, which he said was “brutal.”
“For myself it pretty much happened in the middle of the night,” he said. “I woke up with abdominal pain and probably got up, I’d say 11 p.m., and I did not leave the bathroom pretty much till 7 a.m. in the morning.”
Musyj said he felt sore and had a fever for the whole next day. He said he had trouble performing simple tasks like picking up the phone or changing the television channel.
“You will know when you get it,” he said. “It doesn’t sneak up on you. It hits you like a ton of bricks.”
Musyj recommends avoiding eating when the symptoms are most severe.
Despite the number of cases, the hospital hasn’t declared it an outbreak. At least two patients that have been in hospital for at least three will need to show symptoms before that occurs, Vitale said.
No patients have contracted the virus, she said.
The illness could last beyond the regular one to three day period if the person with symptoms is elderly or very young.