Gastroenteritis: Food and Hygiene Tips to Keep in Mind in the Season of Stomach Flu

Gastroenteritis or 'stomach flu' refers to the irritation and inflammation of the inner lining of the stomach.

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Gastroenteritis: Food and Hygiene Tips to Keep in Mind in the Season of Stomach Flu

Gastroenteritis can lead to severe vomiting, diarrhea, nausea and headache.


Highlights

  1. Recent outbreak of gastroenteritis in Nagaland has raised many concerns
  2. Most common cause of gastroenteritis in children is called the Rotavirus
  3. Overflow of sewage on the roads during monsoons can promote the spread

The recent outbreak of acute gastroenteritis cases in Nagaland has raised several eyebrows in the health and nutrition circuit of its safety measures. While monsoon has brought a respite from the soaring temperature, it has also brought along with it a range of infections and flu. Gastroenteritis or 'stomach flu' refers to the irritation and inflammation of the inner lining of the stomach and small intestine. It could be caused due to a viral, bacterial or parasitic infection and can lead to severe vomiting, diarrhea, nausea and headache.

The most common cause of gastroenteritis in children is called the Rotavirus. The transferable flu is most commonly transmitted through contaminated food or water. Close contact with an infected individual is also a common cause of transmission. Moreover, open potholes, gutter and overflow of sewage on the roads during monsoons can cause further spread of the germs. Improper hygiene is also one of the leading causes of the spread, as well as open defecation that promote the outbreak through infection causing flies and pests.

Here are little preventive tip and steps to combat gastroenteritis or stomach flu -

1. The repeated bouts of vomiting and diarrhea can leave your body dehydrated. It is important to look out for the signs of dehydration like dry skin or dry mouth, or feeling very thirsty, especially in children and the elderly. Check with your doctor before giving your child any medicine. Drugs used to control diarrhea and vomiting aren't usually given to children younger than five.
 

2. It is even more important to not be dehydrated. Essential electrolytes (these include sodium, potassium and chloride) may be lost during vomiting and diarrhea. Keep drinking clean fluids to flush out the toxins and also keep the body hydrated and vitalized.

 

3. Keep a check on your fluid intake, especially the water you are consuming. Run a check on the quality of water. Heavy metals like arsenic, cadmium, lead, or mercury in drinking water can lead to the spread of the infection.
 

4. Eating a lot of acidic foods like tomatoes, sodas and sweetened beverages has also been associated with promoting the ill effects of gastroenteritis. If you are infected with the flu, it is advisable to keep away from acidic foods.
 

5. Certain seafood items have also been associated with the outbreak in many regions. Seafood harvested from sewage-contaminated waters has promoted the acute spread of the virus. Raw or undercooked shellfish, oyster and clams have been associated with the outbreaks in the past.
 

As they say, prevention is better than cure. Gastroenteritis is often taken as a case of food poisoning which can be treated with a host of medicines and drugs. If left unattended  gastroenteritis can lead to serious ailments. 



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