It’s barely a week since the monsoon has set in and already the city’s municipal hospitals have seen more than 184 cases of gastroenteritis alone. And doctors across private hospitals in the city also say they’ve witnessed a considerable rise in the number of gastro cases over the past week.
The doctor’s general prescription is this – you better be cautious about what you eat and where you eat.
General physician at Jaslok Hospital, Dr Pratit Samdhani, said the hospital at Peddar Road has received at least seven gastro patients a day over the last week. “It lasts for about four or five days and causes dehydration,” said Dr Samdhani, adding that some of the patients required hospitalisation.
Besides gastro, doctors are warning citizens about various illnesses that spread during this season. Viruses become active as the season changes, cautions Dr Monica Goel, consulting physician at Hinduja hospital, Mahim. “During monsoon, the risk of water contamination is high due to accumulation of water. Together, it can prove a deadly combination for water-borne diseases... Precisely what we’re witnessing right now,” said Dr Goel.
For those who patronise Mumbai’s popular wayside food joints, doctors sound a note of caution. “People should be careful while eating roadside food,” says Dr Anil Ballani, consultant physician at Lilavati Hospital, Bandra.
Dr Ballani says consuming salads and chutneys at street joints is best avoided. “And if one has no option at all, one should eat hot food,” says Dr Ballani, adding that it’s always a safe option to drink boiled water more so during the monsoon. Dr Hemant Thacker, general physician at the Breach Candy Hospital said despite a spurt, gastro cases that have come in are “mild and curable”. Dr Thacker, however, expressed surprise that patients with malaria have already started coming in – a bit too early this season.
Early start to malaria
While gastroenteritis has ruled the chart of monsoon ailments over last week, doctors are surprised that patients with malaria and dengue have already begun trickling in. Usually, this happens around July – with water stagnation after heavy rains. According to the civic health department, 163 cases of malaria 10 of dengue and seven of leptospirosis were registered last week.
The gastro files
Gastroenteritis is an infection of the stomach and bowel (large intestine). It is caused by bacteria or viruses.
Its symptoms include diarrhoea, abdominal pain, vomiting, headache, fever and chills.
Most people recover without any treatment. The most common problem is dehydration.
This happens if you do not consume enough fluid to replace what you lose through diarrhoea.