Monsoon health

Monsoon has arrived and rains continue to lash the city with heavy showers. The season also brings with it plethora of illnesses. From waterborne disease like Jaundice and Typhoid to vector borne diseases such as Dengue and Malaria, citizens ought to be prepared for these. Food borne illnesses pose a grave danger as well! These are a result of consumption of contaminated food or water that has high amounts of bacteria, viruses or other pathogens.

During the monsoon, the prevalence of food borne illnesses increases tenfold. Generally mild in nature if treated in time, these food borne illnesses predominantly last for two to three days. Depending on the prognosis, a person may require to be hospitalized. People who are the most susceptible to these diseases usually include-

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– Elderly people

– Pregnant women or lactating mothers

– Children

– Those who are immuno suppressed with chronic illnesses like Cancer, Renal and Liver diseases

If you experience a foodborne illness, it usually does not go undetected; depending on the actual source of infection, symptoms may vary. Some of the common symptoms associated with foodborne illnesses include:

– Abdominal pain or cramps

– Vomiting

– Nausea

– Diarrhoea

– Weakness

– Mild fever

Seek your physician’s aid should you experience any of the above, it best to not self-diagnose and treat. If you do have a bout of food poisoning, one of the essential factors is to stay well hydrated at all times. A few other home care tips include:

– Drink plenty of fluids- boiled water, Coconut or fresh fruit juice. ORS (Oral Rehydration Solution) is also a good option which helps restore electrolytes

– For medication that has been prescribed, it is best to follow the advice and routine as per your doctor’s prescription

– Make note of your urine output; your urine should be light, clear and at regular intervals

– For food consumption, it is best to have a bland and low fat diet; include Bananas, rice, boiled or steamed veggies, toast or light vegetable soups

– Avoid any food with spices or hard to digest fried foods

– If you experience persistent vomiting and Diarrhoea for over two days, dark or bloody stool, fever of over 101 F, dizziness or unbearable stomach ache, severe dehydration (dryness in mouth) or poor urine output- immediate medical care should be sought!

PREVENTION: Pathogens and bacteria are found on almost every food source. Foods that are consumed raw are the biggest triggers of food poisoning. Here are a few steps to prevent any sort of foodborne illness or poisoning:

– Cleanliness is the golden key to overall food safety and health- always practice good hand hygiene by washing your hands with a mild antiseptic soap before cooking and before eating food

– Drink boiled or filtered water only

– Ensure that meat and eggs are well cooked; avoid foods that are raw or undercooked

– Wash your meat and vegetables thoroughly before cooking

Since fruits are eaten as is, wash them well and remove the outer skin before consuming

– Roll up clothing, remove any jewellery and tie back long hair while handling food

– Rinse used dishes properly

– Temperature is of prime importance in food safety- refrigerated food should be heated well before consumption

Every time we eat is an opportunity to nourish our body; so eat healthy stay healthy.

(Disclaimer: The author is Dr Upasana Sharma, Head of Emergency &Trauma, Fortis Hospital, Kalyan. Views expressed are a personal opinion.)

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