A ‘gastro’ epidemic (gastroenteritis) appears to be making an early and uninvited round of France. It’s usually caused by a bacterial or viral tummy bug.

This nasty little bug, usually at its worst in January, has descended early on half a dozen regions, including Occitania (Languedoc-Roussillon-Midi-Pyrénées).

Usually lasting two to three days, the main symptoms of gastroenteritis are sudden, watery diarrhoea, sickness and vomiting, (which can be projectile) and a mild fever

As the main risk is dehydration, it is advised to drink at least two litres of water a day. You may also take paracetamol to ease the symptoms as well as anti diarrhoea and nausea medication, and should get plenty of rest.

This is a bug that can spread very easily, so you should wash your hands regularly while you’re ill and stay at home to reduce the risk of passing it on.

You don’t normally need to see your GP if you think you have gastroenteritis, as it should get better on its own. However, if you have symptoms of severe dehydration, (dizziness, losing consciousness……), your symptoms haven’t started to improve after a few days, or you have a serious underlying condition, such as kidney disease, inflammatory bowel disease or a weak immune system, and have diarrhoea and vomiting, you should call your GP or one of the emergency numbers.

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