BENGALURU: Traveller’s diarrhoea is on the list of unsolicited must-haves that has come with the onset of monsoon. While regular commuters who have to walk ankle deep in water cannot prevent this entirely, due to exposure, they can take some tips to protect themselves and identify and treat it early if they have to.
Here are a couple of symptoms you should watch out for if you have travellers’ diarrhoea:
If you have had three or more watery bowel movements after or in between meals, within the last 24 hours, accompanied by some other illness like a common cold, fever, nausea or intense cramps.
Traveller’s diarrhoea could occur due to the worsening climate in addition to some careless food choices during the season. Here are a couple of tips to keep in mind when you feel yourself making careless choices in the monsoon:
■ Don’t settle for food that is room temperature or cold. This temperature serves as a breeding ground for bacteria. Whatever food you eat, especially if it’s from outside, heat it up before eating it. But the wiser choice would be to cook the food yourself and not rely too much on hotel food.
■ Peel and wash your fruits and vegetables before you eat them or cook them. This will wash of all the dirt and the toxic substances that could be on them.
· If you generally consume eggs, don’t have it poached or sunny side up for now. Scramble them or make a fully cooked through omelette. Runny yolk is not the wisest option in this season.
■ Avoid unpasteurised dairy products at all costs. Opt for pasteurized dairy products as they are reliable.
Although there may be an abundance of water this monsoon, we have to be careful with our consumption of the same. Here’s a list of precautionary measures to be taken when consuming water:
■ Do not trust tap water or water from any wells. There is no guarantee as to what deadly bacteria it may contain, and we do not want another virus outbreak. Instead, ensure that you drink bottled water, or cleanly filtered water.
■ If you have a bucket of water in the house, it would be wise to boil it before consumption as it would kill all the harmful bacteria.
■ If you feel like making yourself a nice cool drink, see to it that you use either boiled, bottled or disinfected water to make ice cubes.
■ Stay away from carbonated drinks, especially the canned or glass bottled ones sold in pawn shops. There is no telling how much bacteria is there and it could lead to a number of illnesses. Instead, have a hot beverage like a warm cup of coffee.
■ Most Indians are used to consuming copious amounts of milk every day. This monsoon, you don’t have to give it up, just opt for pasteurised milk instead, as it is much safer to consume.
If, in spite of having taken these precautions, you fall ill, it’s not too late. There are still a few things you can do to ensure a quick recovery:
■ Drink a lot of fluids to stay hydrated as an exhausted body won’t be able to mend itself.
■ If normal fluids like water don’t do it, you should try drinking ORS as it will not only rehydrate you but areplenish your electrolyte levels.
Consultant Gastroentrologist & Hepatologist Fortis Hospital, Bannerghatta Road