The current weather condition - marked by intermittent showers and fluctuations in temperatures - is the ideal breeding ground for diseases, increasing the chances of stomach infections.
It is just a matter of time before clinics and hospitals see a spurt in cases of water-borne diseases such as acute gastroenteritis, jaundice and typhoid, as chances of water contamination is higher during this season.
The maximum number of cases of such water-borne diseases is reported areas localities that have open drains running nearby, which experts believe serve as the ideal breeding ground for disease-causing organisms. "The biggest concern is drinking water. One needs to be careful with the quality of drinking water and maintain hygiene," says Dr Vikas Bhutani, senior consultant (internal medicine), Fortis Hospital, SAS Nagar.
Children and the elderly, who have low immunity or those with compromised immunity due to certain diseases such as cancer, need to be extra careful as they run a higher risk of contracting infection in this season.
Experts say there is a greater risk of food and water contamination in this weather and one must drink only purified water and consume only fresh cooked food. Eating from road-side stalls should and must be avoided as they serve as the major reason for stomach infections. Symptoms of diarrhea such as vomiting, nausea and abdominal cramps etc. are common signs of gastroenteritis.
Experts advise that if somebody is suffering from loose motion, then he/she should increase water intake in the form of lemonade, coconut water or buttermilk. "In India, it is unfortunate that chemists prescribe medicines like doctors. So if diarrhea is accompanied with fever, then one should see a doctor as it indicates infection," said Dr Sachin Pandov, consultant in internal medicine, Max Super Specialty Hospital, SAS Nagar.
1) Drink only boiled or purified water.
2) Water can also be treated with chlorine or iodine; a tablet can be used to disinfect a litre of water.
3) Cook food well
4) Don't eat raw or under-cooked food
5) Eat freshly cut fruits and salads
6) Wash fruits and vegetables in running water or with lukewarm water
7) Avoid street food
8) Check for sanitation and water purification systems
9) Wash hands thoroughly before eating and after going to the washroom