Food poisoning and gastroenteritis are always on the rise during that "in-between" season when we move from summer to the monsoons.
The high humidity in the atmosphere, in cities like Mumbai, promotes the growth of disease causing bacteria.
Here are some pointers to keep in mind to avoid falling ill this rainy season.
- Food, like dal, soup, pasta, that is supposed to be served hot must be served PIPING hot. Often, pasta is served lukewarm, which makes it an ideal environment for bacteria growth. When placing your order, specify that you want it very hot.
Similarly, frozen foods like ice-cream must be served COMPLETELY frozen. At home, make sure you do not refreeze melted ice-cream as it becomes a good environment for baterial growth. This could lead to food poisoning.
- Avoid eating raw food in the form of salads; you never know if they have been washed, cleaned and stored well at the right temperature before being served to you. Opt for stir fried vegetables.
- Chutneys and sauces are usually allowed to stand at room temperature for several hours in restaurants and are loaded with harmful microorganisms. Avoid if possible. Coconut chutney should be avoided because it has a lot of nutrients which aid the growth of bacteria.
- Avoid milk products, especially mithai, if the restaurant or outlet you are buying them from does not store/display them at controlled temperatures. This is because the high sugar content and the milk together provide a suitable environment for bacterial growth.
- Avoid eating at roadside eateries especially those serving pani puri or bhel puri as the chutneys may lack hygiene and could be the cause of an upset stomach or even food poisoning.
Make food your medicine
If you already have a cold or a sore throat, these natural remedies are excellent.
- To one cup of milk add half a teaspoon of turmeric (haldi) and one teaspoon of honey. Have this two to three times a day.
- Add a small piece of crushed ginger to tea and allow it to boil for at least half to one minute. Have this twice a day.
- Inhaling steam for a cold helps in soothing the throat and clearing your up sinuses.
- Adding a few tulsi leaves to tea is also an excellent cure for a scratchy throat. Gargling with salt water thrice a day is good for a bad throat.
Another common ailment is a stomach upset.
If you do end up with an upset stomach make sure you drink plenty of liquids in the form of water or coconut water.
Always keep oral rehydration salts sachets handy to prevent dehydration. You get them readymade at any chemist.
But, even if it is a minor illness, try as far as possible not to self medicate; always take the opinion of your doctor immediately.
- Keep antiseptic liquids like dettol or savlon handy and use for washing off muck or dirt that usually gets splashed around. Don't just wash your hands but also your feet to avoid itching, rashes and skin infections.
- Always use sturdy footwear that will give you a good grip and adequate protection to avoid slipping or falling.
- If you do have any minor accidents, ice is excellent in numbing the nerve endings.
Compress the affected area with ice for at least four to five minutes. Never apply ice directly to the skin or you might get an ice burn. Always wrap it in a hand towel and then apply. If pain or swelling persist, talk to your doctor immediately.
And don't forget, drinking an adequate amount of water is necessary thoughout the year. Even in the monsoons when you rarely feel thirsty. If you are used to drinking water straight from the tap, boil it and refrigerate immediately after it cools to cut down the risk of water borne diseases.
Do you have any tips for a rainy day? Why don't you share it with other readers?
Samreedhi Sharma Goel is a certified personal trainer and nutritionist. She runs Size Wise, her training studio. She also conducts fitness workshops. Besides training with the International Sports Science Association, USA, she has a post-graduate diploma in nutrition and food technology and writes for a variety of publications.
Want beautiful hair this monsoon?
Is your skin ready for the rains?
Is your child ready for a monsoon emergency?