BENGALURU: Indian summers are marked by rising temperatures and the rising heat leaves an impact on our immunity. As the heat rises, so do the number of digestive problems. Some of the common digestive or gastrointestinal disorders include gastroenteritis, heartburn, constipation, irritable bowel syndrome etc. Another commonly seen ailment during summer is food poisoning. In fact, it is that time of year wherein we see a significant rise in food poisoning.
This is characterised by nausea or vomiting, belly pain, diarrhoea and, at times, even fever. It is generally caused by eating food that contains germs, such as bacteria, viruses, or parasites. One of the most common causes of food poisoning is norovirus. By taking certain precautionary measures, one can keep the occurrence of the infection at bay. Some good practices are:
1.Drinking water: Staying hydrated by taking sufficient liquids is important. Due to profuse sweating, the body loses a lot of water and hence it is essential to drink 8-10 glasses of water daily. Curd and drinks like salted buttermilk will cool the system and protect the body from the heat. Freshly-made juices and coconut water are also beneficial.
2.Consuming probiotic-rich foods: Some of the food items that are rich in probiotics are yogurt, cheese and milk. Including them in one’s daily meal plan is highly advisable.
3.Practising good personal hygiene: Apart from washing hands before cooking or even eating any food items, we must ensure our near and dear ones also practise the same. Avoid situations wherein sick people have to cook food or even if they are cooking, ensure that they follow hygienic practices. Washing your hands after changing diapers, going to the bathroom, blowing your nose, touching animals, or taking out the trash is mandatory. Eat small meals that do not have a lot of fat in them.
4.Taking adequate rest: Rest is critical for the body as it helps the body to recover.
5.Paying attention to food safety: Not drinking unpasteurised milk or foods made with it, washing fruits and vegetables well before eating them, keeping the refrigerator colder than 40°F (4.4°C) and the freezer below 0°F (-18°C), cooking meat and seafood until well done, cooking eggs until the yolk is firm and washing hands, knives, and cutting boards after they touch raw food can help in preventing possible food poisoning.
(The author is a consultant gastroenterologist, Narayana Health City, Bangalore)