Gastroenteritis is a glorified term for good old diarrhea, the bane of our summer existence in Nepal. Unlike tourists, Nepalis need a bigger dose of the bacteria to get the symptoms. The lining of our intestines can usually withstand the 'riff-raff' bacteria that cause problems for tourists, but when you get an invasion on the scale of the hordes of Genghis Khan, even Nepali intestines will succumb to the onslaught, and profuse watery diarrhea will ensue.
One way of ensuring you suffer from this kind of gastroenteritis is to go to one of the many marriage parties this summer and stuff yourself silly with raw onions and salad, or partake of the unforgettable creamy desserts. Enjoy the meal while the going is great because there is a good chance you will be made to pay dearly when at 2 in the morning, you wake up with a feverish feeling, aching joints, and a Ganges churning in your belly. No wonder they call this the Delhi belly!
The important thing when diarrhea hits you like this is to make sure you continue to drink fluids even if you are nauseated. Nothing is worse than dehydration coupled with profuse diarrhea.
A banana or two will also help replenish the electrolytes (such as potassium) you lose with diarrhea. Of course, antibiotics may be necessary if watery diarrhea does not stop in a day or sooner. And usually, as with all things medical, the old and the young are the most vulnerable.
Prevention is key. Avoiding salads and uncooked vegetables is important. Always drink boiled water. Just filtering with a regular filter is not good enough. Avoid ice made from non-boiled water. Food is safe if it is steaming and burns the tongue as this guarantees death to bacteria, the main cause of the problem. Runner-up villains are giardia, amoebas, and viruses.
Washing your hands with soap and water always helps. But food hygiene is not completely in your hands. The role of food handlers is very important in hotels and restaurants. In affluent countries, food inspectors check hygiene quality even in five-star hotels. With no food inspectors around, it is even more important to take personal preventive measures when you eat out. Unfortunately, this may detract from the enjoyment of your meal of chwoela and chiura in your neighbourhood restaurant.