Rawalpindi: With the rise in mercury level particularly at day time, private and public sector healthcare facilities have started receiving patients with water and food borne infections commonly known as gastroenteritis.
According to health experts, it is time to create awareness among public on how to avoid gastrointestinal infections and diarrhoea, the infections that put extraordinary burden on public sector healthcare facilities particularly the three teaching hospitals in town every year soon after winter.
Every year, the spread of gastroenteritis and diarrhoea are reported in the district in warm weather conditions while in summer, every third patient reaching allied hospitals is reported to have water or food borne infection.
Health experts say that it is so mainly because of lack of awareness among public and carelessness as majority of population does not take necessary preventive measures to avoid diarrhoea and gastroenteritis.
The allied hospitals are receiving majority of patients particularly infants and children with respiratory tract infections along with a little number of patients with diarrhoea however, the trend is being shifted from respiratory infections to diarrhoea, said Head of Paediatrics Department at Rawalpindi Medical College Prfessor Rai Asghar while talking to ‘The News’.
He said it is time for parents to take extra care of the infants and children and their food must be prepared in good hygienic conditions.
Medical Specialist Dr. Sohail Tariq said it is time to educate public that the leftover foodstuff should be refrigerated as the weather is getting warmer. The foodstuff in open may become contaminated as hot and humid weather allows bacteria to grow faster, he explained.
Gastroenteritis is water and food borne bacterial infection that can be transmitted to eatables through flies in unhygienic conditions. The main symptoms of the infection include vomiting, fever, severe diarrhoea with dehydration and lowering of blood pressure.
Dr. Sohail said poor hygienic conditions at food places and vendors contaminate locally prepared drinks and foodstuff and consumption of uncovered food, cut fruits and uncovered drinks help spreading gastrointestinal infections further.
He said that individuals should take necessary preventive measures well in time to avoid an outbreak of gastrointestinal infections including diarrhoea. People should use safe drinking water, sterilized by boiling or chlorination.
He suggested that before drinking, water must be brought to ‘rolling boil’ for 5-10 minutes and then cooled down. Individuals should use chlorinated water for drinking if possible, he said. Chlorination of water may be carried out by bleaching powder, chlorine tablets, and chlorine stock solution at homes, said Dr. Sohail.