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Hot weather leads to rise in diarrhoea cases, learn how to stay safe

India is currently experiencing extremely high temperatures, setting new records every day. During this time, dehydration and diarrhoea are common issues, particularly affecting children under five and the elderly.

Written By: Rahul Pratyush @29_pratyush New Delhi Published on: May 20, 2024 14:39 IST
Hot weather
Image Source : FREEPIK Hot weather leads to rise in diarrhoea cases, learn how to stay safe

As the temperature rises, so does the risk of health issues, including a significant increase in diarrhoea cases. This seasonal surge poses a serious health threat, especially to vulnerable populations such as children, the elderly, and those with weakened immune systems. Understanding the causes and taking preventive measures can help you stay safe during the hotter months.

Why does hot weather cause diarrhoea?

  • Bacterial Growth: High temperatures create an ideal environment for the growth of bacteria such as Escherichia coli (E. coli) and Salmonella, which are common culprits of diarrhoea. When food is not properly prepared or stored, these germs can grow quickly.
  • Food Spoilage: During hot weather, food spoils faster. Consuming spoiled food can lead to foodborne illnesses, including diarrhoea. Outdoor activities such as picnics and barbecues, where food is often left out in the heat, increase this risk.
  • Water Contamination: Heat can exacerbate water scarcity issues, leading to the use of unsafe water sources. Contaminated water is a significant source of diarrhoeal diseases, particularly in regions with inadequate sanitation infrastructure.
  • Dehydration and Weakened Immunity: High temperatures can lead to dehydration, which weakens the body's immune system, making individuals more susceptible to infections that cause diarrhoea.

Preventive measures to stay safe:

Don't let diarrhoea dampen your summer spirit! Here are some tips to keep yourself and your loved ones safe:

  • Hydration is Key: Drink plenty of fluids throughout the day. Opt for water, buttermilk, or fresh coconut water to replenish lost electrolytes.
  • Food Safety First: Be cautious about what you eat. Wash fruits and vegetables thoroughly, and avoid street food or anything that seems undercooked or mishandled.
  • Practice Good Hygiene: Wash your hands with soap and water before eating and after using the restroom. This easy action can stop the spread of pathogens considerably.
  • Beware of Contaminated Water: Stick to bottled or boiled water, especially when travelling. If unsure about the water source, avoid using it for drinking or even brushing your teeth.
  • Dress for the Season: Wear loose, light-coloured clothing that allows your body to breathe. This helps prevent overheating and excessive sweating, which can lead to dehydration.

If diarrhoea strikes:

  • Rest and replenish fluids: This is crucial to prevent dehydration. Opt for oral rehydration solutions (ORS) or a simple solution of water, salt, and sugar.
  • Bland diet: Stick to easily digestible foods like bananas, rice, and toast. Avoid dairy products, caffeine, and alcohol during this time.
  • Over-the-counter medications: Certain medications can help alleviate symptoms. However, consult a doctor if symptoms persist or worsen.

Warm weather is linked to a higher chance of diarrhoeal illnesses, but by recognising the causes and taking necessary precautions, you can keep yourself and your family safe. By heeding these easy tips, you can make the most of the summer weather without concerns about stomach issues.

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