Highlights

  • The summer season brings with it a lot of challenges
  • One such challenge is the risk of getting food poisoning
  • Here’s how you can keep yourself hydrated and healthy

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Editorji Exclusive: Increasing cases of food poisoning during summers and ways to prevent it

Food poisoning has become a common health hazard during summer season. Know the ways to protect yourself from this disease, as shared by an expert. 

The declining Covid fear is opening doors this summer for outdoor activities. With a new leash of hope, children and adults are more enthusiastic about the long-awaited summer vacations after the pandemic. People have started gathering outside, having food, and travelling.

More people are getting prone to food poisoning due to eating food or drinking water contaminated with infectious organisms including bacteria, viruses, parasites, and their toxins. Symptoms can start within 2-3 hours or can last up to 5-7 days. Symptoms include vomiting, loose stools, fever, stomach pain, and sometimes bloody diarrhoea.

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As water is a vital component of our body, it is necessary to maintain fluid balance in the body. People generally avoid food and water during loose motion thinking it may increase the frequency of diarrhoea. This mistake makes them suffer from dehydration leading to excessive thirst, dry mouth, little or no urination, severe weakness, dizziness, and light-headedness.

During dehydration, the foremost importance is to hydrate the body by drinking plenty of fluids like water, ORS, buttermilk, and coconut water. It compensates for the amount of water lost from the body and reduces the risk of hospitalisation. Consume a more easily digestible curd-based diet as it replenishes the lost probiotics in the gut during diarrhoea. Avoid oily-spicy diet, milk, and milk products. Elderly, small children, pregnant females, and people with other major diseases should consult the doctor at the earliest and follow the treatment regime.

Microbial contamination can be prevented by maintaining proper hygiene. Here are a few ways to follow:

  • Keep your hands free of bacteria by washing with soap before and after preparing and eating food.
  • Clean the utensils with proper detergents and soap.
  • Heat and cook food at a proper temperature that resists bacterial growth.
  • Avoid flash frying.
  • Refrigerate perishable foods promptly within 2 hours of preparing.
  • Drink adequately boiled or UV-treated water.
  • Avoid outside and street foods prepared in an exposed environment making your food more prone to microbial contamination.
  • Discard any food that was not properly stored or doubtful about its hygiene during preparation.

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As prevention is always better than cure, maintain proper hygiene and avoid harmful effects of microorganisms on your body. Eat healthily and stay healthy. Keep yourself hydrated throughout summer and wash out toxins from your body, leading an active and energetic life away from diseases.

(Inputs by Dr Jayaraj S P Consultant - Medical Gastroenterologist, Manipal Hospital Sarjapur)

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