A RISE in stomach upsets across Ballarat is more likely to be from eating bad foods than a viral outbreak, health experts say.
Ballarat Health Services Base Hospital has experienced an above average number of people presenting to the emergency department with gastroenteritis through the holiday season.
BHS emergency physician Katherine Tomkins said most cases were related to consumption of old or poorly kept foods.
This comes as The Courier has learned of stomach upsets spreading through multiple families this Christmas and New Year period.
Dr Tomkins urged people experiencing stomach upsets to stay hydrated with water or hydrating fluids (not sports drinks) and tell friends and family to stay away, particularly avoiding babies, the elderly and pregnant women.
If someone in your family is unwell, Dr Tomkins said to avoid sharing toilets, towels and cups or plates to prevent cross-infection and to always wash hands thoroughly.
Also if unwell, to avoid public places if contagious.
The main complication of experiencing gastroenteritis is dehydration, particularly through fluid lost in vomit and diarrhoea.
Dr Tomkins encouraged people to seek medical help if they have been unable to keep fluids down for more than 30 minutes or were experiencing dehydration symptoms like light headedness, fainting or a significant decrease in passing urine.
People can visit their pharmacist for advice, rehydration fluids or simple pain relief for cramps.
Although, none of the pharmacies contacted by The Courier said they had noted an increase in people seeking help for stomach upsets this holiday season.
For those catching up with family or friends through the summer, Dr Tomkins said to avoid eating foods that have been stored too long or incorrectly and to avoid reheating food that has already been reheated.
YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE
Have you signed up to The Courier's variety of news emails? You can register below and make sure you are up to date with everything that's happening in Ballarat.