Article by Dr Raghuram Y.S. MD (Ay)
Dysentery is usually caused by ingestion of contaminated food and water. Maintaining a good personal hygiene, safe practices of drinking water and proper disposal of sewage form the keys for prevention from Dysentery and diarrhoea.
Maintaining good personal hygiene tips for dysentery –
Wash your hands regularly. This will avoid many infections entering your system and also will keep you away from various diseases including dysentery. The hands should be washed thoroughly:
Before – preparing the food and also before eating anything
After – using toilets, changing diapers in children, while looking after a patient suffering from dysentery, after gardening or handling soil and handling pet animals
Drink sterilized water
Make sure that you always consume sterilized water. Clean and sterile water shall be used for drinking, brushing teeth and washing vegetables and fruits. This can be achieved by properly treating water or being supplied with treated water. The below mentioned measures may be followed –
- Boil the water to 100°C at least for 1 minute (ideally boil for 10-15 minutes)
- Never drink untreated tap water before cleansing it
- Use water purifying tablets at least 15 minutes before drinking the untreated water
- Use filters that have a pore size of 1m or smaller, or that which has been designed for ‘cyst removal’
- Use filtration devices such as Aqua Guard with UV or other Reverse Osmosis (RO) treatment facilities
- Once the water has been treated to remove any kind of dysentery causing germs (micro-organisms), store it in a clean place and keep it well covered.
Proper sewage disposal
Dysentery causing organisms get quickly spread through the faeces of infected individuals. These microorganisms are excreted with the faeces and contaminate the soil and water, making them potential sources for infection.
Faeces should therefore be disposed properly. It should not be allowed to contaminate other things. Care should be taken to avoid contamination by sewage of surface or ground water or any other water body meant for consumption.
Untreated sewage should not be used as fertilizers. They too can contaminate the crops, fruits and vegetables that reach human beings and then trigger infections.
Safe sexual practices
Sexual intercourse that involves oral or anal contact can cause amoebic dysentery. Wash hands thoroughly with soap and hot water to prevent infections. Ideally it is good to refrain from sexual activities that involve anal contact, as this will help in prevention of infection.
Safe and right foods
- Wash fruits and vegetables with clean and safe water before use
- Avoid eating raw or uncooked food items
- Avoid eating outside, especially served from street vendors
- Be careful about ice creams and drinks, pani pooris etc, choose places or eateries you know well and where clean and safe water is used for preparing these stuffs
- Eat fruits that can be peeled off and include them in the diet
- Never use unpasteurized milk or dairy products
Natural foods – Consume natural foods like Indian gooseberry (Amalaki or Amla fruit), tomatoes, ginger, garlic and asafoetida. They are good for the stomach and work to keep the digestive system healthy. They are also beneficial in curing dysentery.
Taking precautions while travelling –
Take extra care when you travel to tropical countries with poor sanitary conditions. Taking the below mentioned measures will help you to keep away dysentery
- Drink only boiled water or bottled water (mineralized)
- Do not eat or drink food items and beverages sold by street vendors
- Don’t swim in contaminated water bodies or unsafe swimming pools
- Avoid salads in case you are not sure about their quality
- Keep your doctor updated about your travel history for better diagnosis
- Carry homemade foods if it is a small journey or local journey, especially if you have a susceptible and sensitive stomach and gut
Keeping your community safe –
Keeping the community safe will be a social responsibility. It will help others in your neighbourhood to have good health. Follow these dysentery prevention measures –
- If you are a healthcare worker taking care of dysentery patients, make sure that you wash your hands thoroughly with soap and running water. Also advise the patients to do the same and also to take precaution with respect to food and water and personal hygiene.
- Child care employees should use gloves when changing diapers for children. They should wash their hands after handling each child.
- Never defecate near water bodies and make sure that your sewage system is well established.
- Don’t attend any public gatherings. Don’t report to work if you have dysentery. This will help in minimizing the chances of spreading infection.
- Educate your kids about self hygiene. If you are a teacher, your responsibility will be more.
- Keep toilets and bathrooms clean and sterile
Atisar types and treatment as per Charaka
To sum up: There is no potential immunization against amoebic dysentery. Therefore it becomes important for us to implicated preventive measures within your house and also in your community. Sometimes, the dysentery causes manage to surpass the preventive measures. In such cases it is recommended to switch over for amoebic dysentery treatment.
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