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Times of India
15 April 2010
By Pushpa Narayan
Chennai, India

The summer is getting more and more intense and hospitals have been reporting cases of diarrhoea. A marginal increase in such cases has been reported in several hospitals, including in the Communicable Diseases Hospital (CDH) in Tondiarpet. “Every year, there is nearly a 10% increase in diarrhoea cases in adults during the summer, compared to other seasons,” said a senior doctor at the CDH. On most occasions, people are prescribed antibiotics, probiotics, intravenous (IV) fluids and sent home. Drinking of contaminated water and consumption of roadside food, like cut fruits, were the main causes for people being affected by these disorders, he said.

Pieces of fruit kept in the open on city streets can be contaminated with bacteria like e–coli that immediately attack the bowels. It may force patients to pass loose stools several times in a day. “It’s important to meet a doctor when there is a problem. Avoid selfmedication,” said surgical gastroenterologist Dr R Surendran of the Stanley Medical College Hospital.

Besides diarrhoea, medical records in government hospitals indicate a rise in cases related to skin infection, gastroenteritis and piles in the past few weeks. “We have people suffering from fungal infection, urinary tract infection, kidney stones, viral infection and rectal problems. Low water retention in the body and lack of moisture in the skin are the primary causes of these disorders,” he said.

Senior doctors like surgical gastroenterologist S M Chandramohan, who works at the Madras Medical College, said people should follow the universal formula during the summer — “boil, wash, peel and eat, or just forget it.” People should avoid eating outside, particularly on streets or at restaurants where hygiene is casualty. “It’s better to avoid direct exposure to sunlight. If you must go out, carry plenty of water, drink coconut water, curd, fresh fruits or juices made with safe water,” he said.

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