Tummy troubles: PIMS receives 9,000 gastro patients in 60 days

Doctors warn against consumption of contaminated water, food

Mariam Shafqat July 04, 2015
Doctors warn against consumption of contaminated water, food. PHOTO: FILE

ISLAMABAD: Persistent and extreme heat spell has led to a sharp increase in hospital admissions in the twin cities in the last couple of months. 

The Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (Pims) Vice-Chancellor, Dr Javed Ikram said that the hospital had received more than 9,000 gastroenteritis emergency cases since the last week of April.

Since the start of Ramazan the hospital’s adult emergency department had treated a total of 2,850 patients suffering from gastroenteritis and extreme dehydration.

Similarly, the children’s ward had treated 1,425 patients so far.

Approximately 15 per cent of the adult patients treated since the start of Ramazan suffered from severe dehydration, whereas five per cent of the patients had to be admitted in the emergency ward.

Likewise, 10 per cent of the children treated since the start of Ramazan were admitted due to severe dehydration.

Doctors at the Pims said that the emergency cases were triggered by high temperatures coupled with fasting. Most patients came for medical assistance right after sehri and iftar.

In order to avoid gastroenteritis, the doctors advised against overeating at sehri and iftar. They said that incase of vomiting patients should take oral rehydration salts (ORS) immediately.

Dr Ikram said that most of these complications indicate supply of poor quality water in the capital.

“Drinking water should only be consumed after boiling it for at least 20 minutes,” he said.

Dr Ikram said that the hospital received a large number of gastro patients during the summer because people did not consume food carefully.

Strictly advising against consuming frozen foods stored for a long period of time, he said that thawing and re-freezing of food items due to load shedding was perfect recipe for spoiling food items that could cause gastroenteritis.

To avoid this “it is best to prepare fresh meals,” Dr Ikram added.

He said that despite receiving a high number of patients, the hospital had not seen a single death due to gastroenteritis or dehydration.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 5th, 2015.