Avoid eating out too much, say doctors; in the event of an outing, KEEP AWAY FROM COLD FOOD ITEMS

It is that time of the year when residents of Chennai think twice before going out due to soaring mercury levels.

But that does not stop many from eating out. Summer is known to cause several health problems; it brings along a host of food- and water-borne diseases. When summer is here, it is better to watch out what and where you eat.

Food poisoning is a common problem during summer due to contaminated food and water. “It is better to avoid eating out. Cooking has to be done hygienically. Improper food preservation and re-using of oil can cause food poisoning,” says S.M. Chandramohan, head, surgical gastroenterology, Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital.

Food poisoning can manifest with abdominal discomfort or severe pain, vomiting and loose stools. “Give rest to the gut and go on a bland diet. Take curd rice or rice with buttermilk and drink tender coconut,” he says.

Vomiting and loose stools can worsen general health, particularly in elderly persons and diabetics. Drinking water alone is not enough as the body loses salt too. Take butter milk with salt to compensate for the loss, say doctors.

K.R. Palaniswamy, senior consultant, gastroenterology, Apollo Hospitals, says bacterial infections such as diarrhoea and dysentery are common due to water contamination. “Avoid eating at roadside eateries. If you are eating out, then avoid cold foods such as salads. Eat boiled and heated food. Avoid milk-based sweets as they get easily spoiled during summer and can cause problems.”

An elderly gentleman, who was in the city for a wedding this week, had a fall and injured his shoulder. He needed an x-ray to confirm the nature of the injury.

Reluctantly, he agreed to go to a hospital but was pleasantly surprised when the entire exercise lasted less than an hour and he learnt that all he needed was a sling to enable the shoulder joint to return to the socket.

The junior doctor at the hospital uploaded a photo of the x-ray through WhatsApp for the consultant orthopaedician to review. The latter called his junior colleague with the diagnosis.

Sports medicine specialist G. Leonard Ponraj of Government Royapettah Hospital asks physiotherapists to upload MRI scans. “It helps in clinical and radiological diagnosis. Recently, a patient who had undergone a total knee replacement surgery had a fall at 2 a.m. in his house. It caused an open injury and that could result in infection if not managed immediately. A junior colleague uploaded the photos of the injury and I advised him to close the wound until I could come to the hospital. We managed to prevent infection and eight hours later, when I came in, we wheeled him into the operation theatre for surgery,” he says.

Cardiologist K. Kannan says borderline decisions such as doing a cardiac procedure or angioplasty are easier. 3G and wi-fi connections expedite research too. “We regularly upload ECG, ECHO images and blood reports for acute care. It saves time for the doctor and the patient. The doctor on duty receives immediate guidance and the patient gets the best treatment,” the specialist says.

(Reporting by Serena Josephine M. and R. Sujatha)

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