July 19, 2019 10:05:34 am
The highly awaited season of rains is finally here. But apart from bringing respite from the heat, monsoons also bring with it an environment that is conducive for disease spreading germs to multiply. Along with common infections, fever, cold and cough, people are also exposed to more serious infections like Hepatitis E during this season.
Hepatitis E is a potentially serious liver disorder that is transmitted through consumption of feces contaminated water or food. As there is a high likelihood of water contamination during this season, especially in water in supply lines and storage tanks, an upsurge in the prevalence of Hepatitis E is observed.
“You also can get Hepatitis E if you eat under-cooked meat from infected animals. Raw shellfish is another culprit. The good news is that this infection can be tackled with appropriate medical intervention,” says Dr Amit Nabar, Consultant-Critical Care & HOD-Accident and Emergency Medicine, SL Raheja Hospital, Mahim-A Fortis Associate.
The most common symptoms of Hepatitis E are:
*Loss of appetite
*Yellowing of the skin and eyes
*Pain in the abdomen
*Nausea and vomiting
It is imperative that one is aware of the risks of Hepatitis and therefore adopts preventive measures. The disease during this season is referred to as a ‘silent killer’, as many people ignore the symptoms, self-medicate or only take cognizance of the symptoms when the infection has reached an advanced stage.
Hepatitis is a food and water borne disease with fecal-oral route being the primary route of transmission. It is mainly transmitted through consumption of contaminated water or food and is largely found in areas with poor hand hygiene and sanitation.
*Good sanitation, personal hygiene and availability of clean drinking water form the cornerstone of its prevention strategy.
*Avoid eating unclean raw food and vegetables; care should be taken while preparing uncooked fruits or vegetables (example salads and juices).
*Avoid buying food from street vendors, and care should be taken to not eat pre-cut fruits that may have been washed in contaminated water.
*Juices and other drinks carry an equal risk due to possible usage of contaminated ice.
*Good sanitary habits need to be encouraged and importance of ‘handwashing after defecation’ and ‘before preparing and consuming food’ must be emphasized upon in the community.
*Open defecation must be stopped so that water sources aren’t impacted. This will help in prevention of diseases that are transmitted by the fecal-oral route.
*Drink only boiled or purified water
You should consult your doctor as soon as you start seeing the symptoms (mentioned above). Share detailed medical history with your doctor, and most importantly, share details about your recent travels. A blood test or a stool test to diagnose Hepatitis E might be prescribed. It is imperative that the doctor prescribed medicines are consumed as per dosage. Food and water consumption must be monitored.
Hepatitis E can be dangerous for pregnant women or anyone with weak immune systems, including children, the elderly or people who are ill. It is advisable to practice good hygiene, which is essential to keep Hepatitis E & A away.
To curb the increasing disease burden of all types of Hepatitis, India rolled out the National Viral Hepatitis Control Program (NVHCP) earlier this year, with an aim to eliminate viral hepatitis that infects and kills more than HIV, Malaria and TB, combined, as per reports.
📣 The above article is for information purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the guidance of your doctor or other qualified health professional for any questions you may have regarding your health or a medical condition.
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