Sunday Observer Online


Sunday, 29 May 2016





Marriage Proposals
Government Gazette

Health tips during floods

Viral Hepatitis

Viral hepatitis is a common endemic water and food borne disease in Sri Lanka following monsoon rains such as we are experiencing at present. Among the different types of hepatitis in Sri Lanka, Hepatitis A is the commonest as it is spread by drinking contaminated water and eating unhygienically prepared or exposed food, such as sold on the streets or small side cafés and restaurants. Although this form of the disease is mild, an average of 1,500-2,000 cases of viral hepatitis are notified to the epidemiology unit yearly.

However, during epidemics (outbreaks) higher numbers (around 6,000 cases) are notified from all 26 districts...

There are several types of viral hepatitis viz A B C D and E. From these, Hepatitis A is the commonest type found in Sri Lanka. The most common causes of infective hepatitis are viruses. Hepatitis A and E are spread via faeco-oral route i.e by ingestion of contaminated food or water. This is usually a mild disease which has no chronic stage.


Hepatitis A most often causes a sub-clinical or self limiting illness. Commonly reported initial symptoms include general ill health, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, headache, mild fever. Later patients produce dark urine, pale stools and on examination the clinician finds yellow discolouration of skin and sclera, enlarged liver and or spleen. Recovery usually occurs in 3-6 weeks.

No treatment that can cure the disease 100 percent is available. For mild illness no treatment is necessary. During Hepatitis A illness the patient may be advised to rest and to follow a fat free diet and to avoid alcohol. Strict personal hygiene and the avoidance of raw and unpeeled foods can help prevent an infection.

Foods to avoid and how to cook them

Washing in salt/turmeric water doesn't kill all disease causing organisms. In fact it may aggravate the problem if the water used is not clean. The important thing is to wash vegetables or fruit which are eaten raw with clean water and rinse well before consumption.

When cooking, cook well to make sure the germs are killed. Avoid food that is eaten raw which could be contaminated with faecal matter and consume well cooked food during flood situations. Cover prepared/cooked food until consumption (to avoid flies/insects contaminating food).


Conjunctivitis may also be caused by such environmental hazards as wind, smoke, dust, and allergic reactions caused by pollen, dust, or grass.

Symptoms range from itching and redness to a mucous discharge. Persons who wear contact lenses may develop allergic conjunctivitis caused by the various eye solutions and foreign proteins contained in them.

Accurate diagnosis of conjunctivitis centres on taking the patient's history to learn when symptoms began, how long the condition has been going on, the symptoms experienced, and other predisposing factors. Diagnostic tests may include an eye examination, culture, or laboratory test.

Viral conjunctivitis may cause blindness and should be referred to an ophthalmologist. Topical steroids are commonly prescribed in combination with antiviral therapy.

In cases of Bacterial Conjunctivitis, a physician may prescribe an antibiotic eye ointment or eye drops. Patients should contact their doctors if the eyes fail to improve after 72 hours.


Conjunctivitis can be prevented in many cases; in others, the course of the disease can be shortened by these simple practices:

•Washing hands frequently using antiseptic soap; using single-use towels during the disease to prevent spreading the infection.

•Using a clean tissue to remove discharge from eyes.

•If medication is prescribed, finishing the course of antibiotics as directed to make sure that the infection is cleared up and does not recur.

•Avoiding wearing eye makeup or contact lenses during the infection. Never share eye makeup with others especially if you have an eye disease.

Leptospirosis (Rat Fever)

Leptospirosis or Rat Fever is a potentially serious but treatable disease. In Sri Lanka more cases are reported after heavy rainfalls and floods.

Treatment is effective with antibiotics as soon as the disease is suspected.If involved in occupations like farming, mining, cleaning drains and canals , inform the MOH or PHI in the area for advice. Doxycycline tablets are available for those engaged in cleaning canals, farming and working in gem pits , as a protection and prevention of the disease.

Remove rubbish and keep human habitat clean to control rodents .

Keep animals away from play areas for children.

Wear protective clothes and cover wounds on feet and hands with high boots and gloves.

Drink only boiled cooled water.

Avoid walking in flood water.

- C.A.



eMobile Adz

| News | Editorial | Business | Features | Political | Security | Sports | Spectrum | World | Obituaries | Junior |


Produced by Lake House Copyright © 2016 The Associated Newspapers of Ceylon Ltd.

Comments and suggestions to : Web Editor