When the sun is at its peak, it automatically leads to water scarcity and that in turn has a cascading effect on human health. Gastroenteritis, commonly known as the ‘stomach flu’, characterized by watery diarrhea and vomiting affects many people, especially during the peak summer months. It is actually a microbial infection that causes inflammation of the lining of stomach, small and large intestines.
Viruses like rotavirus and bacteria like E.coli are responsible for causing gastroenteritis and it takes a toll especially during the summer months because that is when water scarcity leads to unhygienic circumstances, which forms a favorable ambience for the growth of these microorganisms. It is in summers that there are high chances of food and water contamination and one of the major causative factors of gastroenteritis is consumption of contaminated food or water. So the best defense from gastroenteritis is to ensure that you maintain hygiene in the best way possible. In fact doctors suggest washing hands with soap and warm water for 20 seconds every time you come home from outside, come out from the restroom or before eating or touching food.
Apart from watery diarrhea and vomiting, abdominal cramps and fever are also seen as accompanying symptoms in gastroenteritis. It could get extremely uncomfortable especially for children and elderly and those with a weak immune system. Chances of dehydration are very high during gastroenteritis, so it is always advised to drink electoral or glucose water and replenish the loss of water and electrolytes from the body. Since the digestive system takes a toll and the affected individual tends to throw up everything they eat or even drink, so it is always suggested to take small sips of water at frequent intervals or suck on ice chips if that is possible. Oily and greasy food, dairy products and chocolates should be avoided when one is down with gastroenteritis. It is better to stick to a bland diet like rice, toast, apple sauce and then gradually merge into regular diet.
Usually, the symptoms of gastroenteritis subside in three days, but if it persists more than that then a medical consultation is required. Sometimes doctors need to prescribe medicines to check the symptoms or at times a hospital admission is required if the dehydration gets worse or the bacterial or viral infection worsens.
So this summer try to follow healthy, hygienic practices. Avoid eating out, drink boiled water and wash hands well and as frequently as possible to keep the most common summer sickness at bay.