DEBUGGING THE SYS­TEM

GAS­TRIC PROB­LEMS ARE QUITE COM­MON DUR­ING SUM­MER MONTHS, BUT A LIT­TLE CARE AND CAU­TION CAN HELP AVERT SE­RI­OUS IS­SUES.

Business Today - - CONTENTS - By E. Ku­mar Sharma

Gas­tric prob­lems are quite com­mon dur­ing sum­mer months, but a lit­tle care and cau­tion can help avert se­ri­ous is­sues

GASTROINTESTINAL in­fec­tions are quite com­mon dur­ing sum­mer months. And the prob­lems will get com­pounded if your wa­ter in­take is low as de­hy­dra­tion com­pli­cates matters. Gastrointestinal ex­pert Dr D. Nagesh­war Reddy, Chair­man and Chief of Gas­troen­terol­ogy at Hy­der­abad-based Asian In­sti­tute of Gas­troen­terol­ogy, tells us how some sim­ple pre­cau­tions can help one avoid gas­tric prob­lems. These med­i­cal con­di­tions in­clude a wide range of food-borne or wa­ter-borne di­ar­rhoeal dis­eases such as amoe­bi­a­sis, shigel­losis and sal­mo­nella poi­son­ing. Symp­toms vary from mild to se­vere, caus­ing ab­dom­i­nal pain, loose mo­tion and some­times blood in the stool along with fever and ap­petite loss. All these are warn­ing signs that you need to con­sult a doc­tor.

Stom­ach in­fec­tions could cause se­vere prob­lems, in­clud­ing kid­ney fail­ure, if your fluid in­take is less than ad­e­quate and you are prone to de­hy­dra­tion. But some ba­sic pre­cau­tions will help you avert such dan­gers. Avoid eat­ing pre-cut and un­cov­ered fruits ly­ing in the open for long. Eat­ing raw sal­ads can be equally harm­ful if they are not prop­erly washed with well-treated wa­ter. The big­gest trig­ger could be drink­ing wa­ter that is not fil­tered or treated or stored prop­erly. Boil­ing the wa­ter be­fore con­sump­tion is the only op­tion if you are at a place where treated wa­ter or a wa­ter pu­ri­fier is not avail­able.

Fre­quent fliers and trav­ellers tend to eat pack­aged food which is of­ten re­heated and served, lead­ing to gas­tric in­fec­tions. Worse still, when their fluid in­take is low through­out the day but they con­sume al­co­hol in the evening, it will in­crease the risk of de­hy­dra­tion. So, if you have not had enough wa­ter dur­ing the day, it is a bad idea to in­dulge in heavy drink­ing af­ter­wards.

What should you do if you are down with any of these in­fec­tions? First, they can be eas­ily treated and in most cases, may re­quire some an­tibi­otics as sug­gested by your doc­tor. “Ad­di­tion­ally, fo­cus on the wa­ter in­take to keep your­self ad­e­quately hy­drated. In case of se­vere de­hy­dra­tion or di­ar­rhoea, es­pe­cially in chil­dren, go for oral re­hy­dra­tion solutions, or ORS,” says Dr Reddy. In such cases, drink­ing wa­ter may not help as wa­ter is hy­po­tonic and does not con­tain all the elec­trolytes you need, and you may re­quire ORS. These low-priced prod­ucts are avail­able al­most ev­ery­where and you can eas­ily ac­cess them.

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