The Monsoons have arrived and the season brings with it plethora of illnesses. From waterborne disease like Jaundice and Typhoid to vector borne diseases such as Dengue and Malaria, one ought to be prepared for these. Food-borne illnesses pose a grave danger as well! These are a result of consuming 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, says Dr Upasana Sharma, Head of Emergency & Trauma, Fortis Hospital, Kalyan.
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 hospitalised. People who are the most susceptible to these diseases usually include elderly people, pregnant women or lactating mothers, children and those who are immunosuppressed with chronic illnesses like cancer, renal and liver diseases, she points out.
If you experience a food-borne illness, it usually does not go undetected; depending on the actual source of infection, symptoms may vary. The expert lists down some of the common symptoms associated with foodborne illnesses: Abdominal pain or cramps, Vomiting, Nausea, Diarrhoea, Weakness, Mild fever
Seek your physician's aid should you experience any of the above, it's 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. Dr Sharma suggests a few other home care tips:
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!
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