November heat is already being felt in the city, has become a matter of concern, and may invite a plethora of health problems along with gastrointestinal infections. Here, we tell you how to safeguard yourself.
Gone are the days with cases of dehydration, heatstroke, conjunctivitis, etc. The heat in October may bring in a new set of infectious diseases, especially stomach bugs, affecting children most commonly.
All you need to know about gastrointestinal infections
Gastroenteritis means irritation and swelling of the inner lining of the stomach. This is due to contact with the previously mentioned organisms. We all crave for warm tea and fried snacks. However, where we consume such foods is the main aspect.
Mumbai is known for its mouth-watering, fast-moving street food. Is it a good idea to gorge on that yummy paani puri or corn, and other items from roadside carts! The reason is that flies and other pests tend to infect such items. Moreover, we can never be sure of the quality of water used in such food preparations. But, let us not blame street vendors alone. This may be the case in restaurants as well. Fruits and vegetables stored for a longer period than normally intended, food being cooked in advance and stored are all carriers of bacteria and viruses. Consuming these will lead to gastrointestinal disturbances.
Acute diarrhoea and vomiting are the initial signs of food poisoning and gastroenteritis. The affected individual will also gradually develop abdominal pain, cramps, and dehydration within 24-48 hours. Gastroenteritis is the least severe condition. One needs to be wary of conditions like typhoid, jaundice, cholera too, which also spread through contaminated food and water.
Food and drinks are not the only routes of spread of stomach infections. Washrooms are another danger area. No matter how clean a toilet of a plush hotel or a multinational company may be, it could be as dangerous as a roadside public toilet when it comes to spreading of infection.
Similarly, in public transport, we come in contact with several individuals who may be suffering from cold/cough or other infections. We may acquire illnesses either by direct contact with such individuals or surfaces or through droplet infection (sneezing/coughing etc.)
Tips to prevent stomach infections
Wash your hands after using the bathroom/toilet, especially in public places.
Wash hands before cooking and eating.
Keep your surroundings clean. As much as possible try not to let the water pool and stagnate. This is true of common areas of our buildings/houses. Even inside the house, do not leave utensils in the sink for long. Water pooling in potted plants can also be breeding grounds for flies and mosquitoes.
Use a good disinfectant to clean household surfaces.
Drink boiled water. Carry a water bottle while traveling rather than relying on public sources.
Ensure that the filter in water purifiers is cleaned and maintained regularly.
Avoid eating food at roadside stalls. This is especially true of non-vegetarian items.
Wash all fruits and vegetables thoroughly before eating/cooking.
Cut fruit plates are not healthy! Buy fresh fruits and cut them only when you wish to eat.
Last but not the least; strengthen your immunity to keep health issues at bay. in absence of running water at least use hand sanitisers if u r travelling
Article by Dr. Roy Patankar, leading Gastroenterologist