JAUNDICE (HEPATITIS A & E)
The famous yellow eyes are a clear indication of Hepatitis A and E, or what we popularly call Jaundice. But that symptom appears a little later, around three to five days after other symptoms have showed up, says Dr Suranjit Chatterjee, Senior Consultant, Internal Medicine (MD), Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals, New Delhi.
It is a water-borne disease and the virus usually spreads through contaminated food or water.
Yellow eyes are a clear sign that appears late. Fatigue, abdominal pain, fever, loss of appetite, dark urine, nausea and diarrhoea are other symptoms.
There is basically no drugs-related treatment; patients are advised complete rest, well-balanced easily digestible meals and plenty of fluids, says Dr Chatterjee. A low fat, high carbohydrate diet is recommended, he adds. Special diets free of oil and ghee and heavy spices are also helpful for a period of two weeks. Alcohol is usually prohibited during the treatment phase and for some time after as liver functioning is impaired during this period.
The hepatitis A vaccine is considered to be 90-100 per cent effective. To prevent this disease, ensure that hands are washed with soap and water before eating, after using the toilet or after changing baby’s diapers. Make sure the person who is responsible for cooking and serving food maintains the same hygiene levels. “Ensure water is purified before drinking,” advises Dr Chatterjee.
Gastroenteritis is an infection of the gastrointestinal tract, involving the stomach, intestines, or both. Viral gastroenteritis is very common during the monsoon season. The main causes can be traced to contaminated food and drinking water.
Symptoms include diarrhoea, abdominal pain, vomitting, headache, fever and chills. Dehydration is the most serious symptom which can happen due to loss of fluids because of severe diarrhea and vomiting.
Usually, most patients don’t need any treatment except supportive care, i.e., plenty of hydration with oral rehydration solutions (ORS) and rest, says Dr Suranjit Chatterjee, Senior Consultant, Internal Medicine (MD), Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals, New Delhi. Preventing dehydration is vital so sufficient fluids like ORS (available in packets to be mixed with water or tetrapaks), should be consumed. Light food like rice gruel, khichdi, yoghurt and rice is advised.
As gastroenteritis is a food and water-borne disease, optimal hygiene levels should be maintained. Always have purified drinking water, wash hands with soap before preparing or eating food, ensure vegetables and fruits are washed before cooking and not do not eat at unhygienic places.