Time to watch what you eat

Time to watch what you eat

As monsoon sets in, one also hears of different diseases breaking out. Apart from dengue and other fevers, cases of gastro-enteritis are also rising.

Metrolife talks to medical practitioners to find out how seriously Bangaloreans are affected by water contamination and the ways to keep these diseases at bay.

When rains kick in, potable water gets contaminated which leads to such diseases. Dr Poornachandra KS, Consultant Gastroenterologist with Fortis Hospitals, says that he sees about two to three cases of gastroenteritis daily.

“It usually comes up when there is mixing of water and contamination by sewage water. This usually happens right after a rain shower. In the past month, I’ve seen about 60 to 90 cases,” says Poornachandra.

He says that one has to be careful about the intake and personal hygiene to stay away from such ailments. “The RO and UV water purification systems that people use at home are fine as long as they are maintained well,” he says. Poornachandra says that for anyone who is suffering from diarrhoea, one should stay off milk, drink lots of water and take zinc supplements. “It’s best not to take antibiotics for short-lasting diarrhoea,” he says.

Some medical practitioners say that though the cases are lesser now than summer, they are more than the last rainy season. Dr Veeranna Gowda, Head of the Department of Medicine, Victoria Hospital, says that he has been getting almost four to six patients every week.

“The rise of cases could be related to consumption of stale food and unhygienic handling of food. Eating outside also contributes highly to diarrhoea as one doesn’t know about the water being used in hotels,” says Veeranna. “One should avoid cut fruits and juices outside during the rains,” says Veeranna.

Professionals like Prajeesh Kumar, a software engineer, who has different work
schedules through the week says that there are people who cannot cook daily and consume only homemade healthy food. “With increasing deadlines and longer work hours, it becomes hard to have time to cook too. So I often end up eating outside, which affects the stomach,” he says. He adds that he has been taking tips from nutritionists and having safe food like properly washed vegetables and fruits.

Dr Chandil Kumar Gunashekhara, a general physician, says that with rains here, a lot of water contamination happens.

“People tend to walk in wet from the rains and might not take a shower or wash their hands well. This is a seasonal trend and this can lead to contamination of food. I’ve been seeing about five to six cases of gastroenteritis every week,” says Chandil.

He adds that bacterial infections go up during this time, which affects one’s health. One should wash one’s hands properly and not consume exposed foods. “One should always have food which is hot or warm. Do not ignore symptoms like nausea and vomiting,” he says.

It is ironic how green leafy vegetables are essential for well-being but how they can be carriers of germs, says Ranjani Raman, a nutritionist.

“It’s best that vegetables like cauliflowers and cabbages are blanched before consumption. If one can afford it, it’s best to go for organic food as it is safer,” says Ranjani.

She adds that the best foods during cold weather are vegetable soups. “When it is colder, one tends to not drink enough water. Soups will keep you warm and keep the body hydrated too,” she sums up.

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