It’s not just visitors to Delhi who are at risk of suffering from the infamous “Delhi belly”. With an increasing number of people rejecting sanitised destinations for the rough & tumble of adventure in lands less travelled, there are increasing number of cases of diarrhoea in people back from vacations.Since infection occurs from having contaminated food or drink, touching contaminated surfaces and then putting your hands in the mouth, or having contact with an infected person, such as sharing food or cutlery, observing the basics of hygiene in suspect surroundings becomes tantamount.
“Always try to eat freshly cooked food and wash your hands often with soap for at least 20 seconds, especially after using the bathroom, changing diapers, or before touching food. Bottled or RO (reverse osmosis) filtered watered is recommended for everyone. Try not to eat food from anywhere and everywhere,” said Dr Rommel Tickoo, senior consultant internal medicine, Max Hospital, Saket.
Traveller’s diarrhoea and fever of any origin are the most common illnesses affecting travellers across the globe. An estimated 10 million people —20% to 50% of international travellers — develop it in due course of time. “Safe drinking water is a must to avoid diarrhoea and other water-bound diseases. Emmodium drug can be used to control diarrheal diseases. To prevent dehydration and heat stroke in tropical regions, one should take fluids like coconut oil, lemon oil and ORS (Oral Rehydration Solution),” stated Dr Anil Vardani, Senior Consultant Internal Medicine, BLK Super Speciality Hospital.
Infection in gastrointestinal tract is more likely among people over 70 and children. “People should carry antacids ( a substance which neutralizes stomach acidity), antiemetics ( a drug that is effective against vomiting and nausea) and antidiarrheal drugs (medication which provides symptomatic relief for diarrhoea) to cure stomach-related problems,” added Dr Tickoo.
In extreme weather, also at risk are the people with diabetes and asthma or those on steroids. “Asthma patients should carry SOS inhalers apart from nebulisers to control breathing problems and attacks. People should use paracetamol for fever and pain, anti-allergic drugs for cold and sore throat. Diabetic patients should take insulins, while others should carry the prescribed medicines and glucometers (for checking sugar level).” he added.
It is also recommended to take typhoid, influenza, Hepatitis A and tetanus vaccinations a month before going for a vacation. “People, who go to areas where malaria is rampant, should take antimalarial drugs like doxycycline and mefloquine for prophylaxis (prevention). And for people, who visit beach resorts, should make sure they don’t forget to keep a sunscreen with them,” said the doctor.
In temperate zones or in cold weather conditions, “to avoid frostbite one should always carry warm clothes and wear socks,” affirmed Dr Vardani. The other basic requirements include bandages, cotton, antiseptic creams, and dettol.