In this episode of Active Health, RJ Padma Priya is in conversation with Dr. Nagarathna, who speaks about infections that affect the human Gastro-Intestinal System.
Bacteria and parasites are the main reasons for such infections. Symptoms of gastrointestinal infections include stomach pain, vomiting, and dysentery with blood in the stool. Children below the age of one experience such infections commonly because they crawl on the floor and keep putting their fingers in their mouths. “The nipples used on plastic milk bottles can also cause stomach infections because these bottles are sometimes left unclean.”
Rota Virus can also cause gastrointestinal tract infections in children. “We should emphasise that children wash their hands well before eating food and also eat food that is clean. Typhoid is a disease that is caused by the Salmonella bacteria and this reaches our body through the gastrointestinal tract and mixes with the blood.”
In India, it’s common for people to suffer from gastrointestinal infections and lose their lives because of them. In spite of this, the research on these diseases remains scant. “Vomiting and diarrhea may be neglected generally, but one must be careful if these symptoms become serious. People also follow the misbelief that if children get sick after attending public functions, then it may be a result of ‘nazar’ (evil eye). These symptoms are then ignored.”
Dr. Nagarathna stresses that in the event of gastrointestinal distress, children, as well as elders, should be taken to a doctor immediately and be given lots of liquids to keep up the body’s hydration. “Please do not follow your own medicinal ideas! Listen to a professional.” One should also follow a few food practices regularly – eat raw vegetables only after cleaning them properly, and maintain general good hygiene in the house. There are also a few vaccines available to prevent severe gastrointestinal problems.
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