Safety advice issued to avoid infections during Easter bank holiday weekend

The Easter bank holiday weekend is almost upon us

People are being warned to follow basic steps to avoid infections and stay safe during the Easter bank holiday.

With the four-day weekend almost upon us, it is expected that many people will be out and about travelling across the country visiting family and friends.

Now the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) has issued some safety advice for people to follow to keep themselves and others safe.

Dr Naveed Syed, UKHSA West Midlands consultant in communicable disease control, said: "During spring, especially over holiday periods, there is generally an increase in gastro-intestinal infections.

"They are often associated with a range of activities such as barbecues and picnics, where food has been poorly stored or cooked - through to farm or park visits, where infections can be picked up by handling or stroking animals."

Dr Syed adds: "Good hand hygiene for all and supervised hand hygiene for small children is essential to minimise the risk of developing a stomach bug.

"Washing hands thoroughly with soap and warm water, especially before eating or drinking and after going to the toilet, is essential to help prevent the spread of any infection."

According to Dr Syed, common infections are caused by the germs cryptosporidium and campylobacter, while salmonella and E. coli O157 can lead to potentially serious illness.

He said: "Symptoms vary from a mild upset tummy to more serious diarrhoea, vomiting and fever.

"In a small number of cases, some infections can result in hospitalisation or even death – with young children, pregnant women, older people and those who have reduced immunity at increased vulnerability from severe effects of stomach bugs.

"That’s why good hand hygiene, correct food storage, cleaning of food preparation areas and ensuring there is no cross contamination from raw and cooked foods is vital.”

As the world continues to deal with Covid, there are also other things to consider when meeting up with loved ones or visiting attractions.

Dr Syed said: “Even though restrictions have been relaxed, it’s still important to stay safe and stop the spread of Covid-19.

"If you are feeling unwell and have any symptoms that might be coronavirus, then it’s best not to mix outside your household or visit attractions and stay at home until you’re feeling better.

"Also, make sure you and your family are up to date with your Covid-19 vaccines, and consider wearing a face covering if you are in an enclosed public area with lots of people.

"Wash hands regularly, and try to carry some hand sanitiser, to use when you are out and about.”