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Overeating, weather led to increased gastro cases

Overeating, weather led to increased gastro cases

ISLAMABAD: Health experts blame rising gastro cases on humid weather and change in eating habits after the fasting month of Ramazan.

Media coordinator of Pims and Gastroenterologist Dr Waseem Khawaja while talking to Dawn said during Ramazan people had only two meals a day but after Ramazan their routine had changed.

“Not only people started eating three times a day but sometimes more than that because during their visit to their relatives for Eid greetings their hosts forced them to overeat. Moreover, suffocation and humidity also one of the reasons for gastro as food is spoiled more quickly during this weather,” he said.

As many as 4,500 gastro cases were reported at the emergency department of the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (Pims) during Eid holidays. Of them only 25 were admitted because of their condition being serious and others were discharged after receiving medical treatment.

“Patients who were brought to the emergency of Pims were feeling heaviness in chest, pain in stomach, having vomiting and diarrhea and were dehydrated,” he said.

“Other patients came with diabetes, heart complications fever and other complaints which are usually treated in outpatient department (OPD). However they visited emergency because OPD was observing Eid holidays,” he said.

“Moreover 500 children suffering from gastro were brought in the emergency of the children hospital. All children were discharged after treatment,” he said.

“Gastro is caused by bacteria which results in acute form of diarrhea and vomiting. Patient usually takes one to six days to recover. Children are particularly at high risk of contracting the disease because they buy substandard food and drinks. Besides, reheated meat dishes, bakery products and improperly prepared food can also cause gastro,” he said.

Sufficient water intake is the best treatment of gastro. Besides, glucose drip can also be given in acute condition, he said.

“The best prevention against the gastro is improved sanitation and properly cooked food. Junk food and drinks should be avoided. Hands should be washed before eating anything and after using the toilet,” Dr. Waseem said.

He said in the urban areas drinking water had been contaminated because sewerage mixes with it due to leakage in the water pipelines. In rural areas, because of unavailability of sewerage system, the sewage contaminates the underground water.

Dr Waseem advised that boiled water should be used for drinking. People should avoid overeating and increase use of vegetables and fruits in their diet.

Oral rehydration salts (ORS) should be given to children whenever vomiting or diarrhea starts, he said.

Published in Dawn, July 22nd, 2015

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