Cases of hepatitis and gastroenteritis are on rise amidst spike in temperatures. How to stay safe, precaution tips | Health - Hindustan Times

Cases of hepatitis and gastroenteritis are on rise amidst spike in temperatures. How to stay safe, precaution tips

ByZarafshan Shiraz, New Delhi
May 23, 2024 12:40 PM IST

The cases of hepatitis and gastroenteritis are surging during the scorching heat this summer. Here's why and expert tips to practice precaution and stay safe

The increasing heat and humidity during summer invite a plethora of health problems where the cases of hepatitis and gastroenteritis also surge during the scorching heat and there is a significant spike in cases of Hepatitis A and E cases in children aged 2-7 years owing to food and water contamination during summer. As the scorching heat outside sets the stage for bacteria and viruses to thrive and multiply in unhygienic conditions, it will be imperative to seek timely intervention for hepatitis as it can induce liver failure.

Cases of hepatitis and gastroenteritis are on rise amidst spike in temperatures. How to stay safe, precaution tips (Photo by Health Advisor)
Cases of hepatitis and gastroenteritis are on rise amidst spike in temperatures. How to stay safe, precaution tips (Photo by Health Advisor)

In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Dr Seema Joshi, Senior Consultant Pediatrician and Adolescent Counselor at Ankura Hospitals in Pune, shared, “Children are complaining of various signs and symptoms such as jaundice, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, loss of appetite and fever and will require timely medical attention to tackle this condition. To prevent hepatitis in children, parents should exercise caution by cutting down on the consumption of outside food and drinks. Ensure to give fresh and well-cooked food to your children. Try to inculcate the habit of eating homemade food in your children to ensure overall well-being during summer.”

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Highlighting that another important condition to watch out for in children during summer is gastroenteritis or stomach flu, which is a painful stomach infection accompanied by symptoms such as nausea and vomiting, abdominal distress, diarrhoea and dehydration, Dr Seema Joshi said, “Spoiled food, contaminated roadside food and water are the causes of gastroenteritis in kids. Pre-cut fruits and juices cause food poisoning and the ice used for them is also contaminated, if the child drinks these juices or eats fruits then he/she will fall sick. Gastroenteritis happens due to viral, bacterial, or parasitic infection. Parents should ensure that the child is given fresh homemade food, avoid roadside foods and beverages, wash hands before eating food, and maintain good personal hygiene. Parents should consult the doctor on an immediate basis after spotting symptoms such as vomiting and diarrhoea in children.”

Bringing his expertise to the same, Dr Aklesh Tandekar, Head Consultant Critical Care at Wockhardt Hospitals on Mira Road, revealed, “To combat the heat, a majority of people tend to drink roadside juices such as lemon, rose, mango, watermelon, pineapple, or orange that contain ice. However, if hygiene is not maintained then the ice gets contaminated with E. coli bacteria and one can suffer from hepatitis causing symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, fatigue, loss of appetite, joint pain, jaundice and fever. To prevent hepatitis, it is essential to drink boiled water, eat well-cooked food, avoid drinking roadside contaminated juices that contain ice and get vaccinated without fail as recommended by the doctor.”

He further explained that gastroenteritis (a bacterial or viral infection) means the inflammation of the lining of the stomach and intestines leading to symptoms such as diarrhoea, abdominal cramps, nausea and vomiting due to contaminated food and water hence, the rising temperature during summer and poor eating habits can cause this unpleasant stomach infection. Dr Aklesh Tandekar concluded, “Too much heat tends to spoil the food or one can also end up eating stale food kept uncovered for a longer time and suffer from this condition. Even poor hygiene while preparing food or not washing hands after accessing the washroom raises the risk of gastroenteritis. To prevent this condition, stay hydrated by drinking enough water to flush out toxins from the body, have rehydrating solutions, follow good personal hygiene, avoid eating roadside contaminated food, rest enough, drink a lot of fluids and don’t eat stale food or raw foods. Cook the food properly and store it well.”

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