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More seeking treatment for food-related illnesses during festive season

Some hospitals said the attendance at their emergency departments over the Lunar New Year period was not higher than previous weeks. But there appeared to be an increase in the number of those seeking treatment for conditions such as gastroenteritis, food allergies and alcohol intoxication.

SINGAPORE: Some hospitals said the attendance at their emergency departments over the Lunar New Year period was not higher than previous weeks.

But there appeared to be an increase in the number of those seeking treatment for conditions such as gastroenteritis, food allergies and alcohol intoxication.

Doctors said these conditions are likely associated with more consumption of festive seasonal food.

The average daily emergency attendance at the Singapore General Hospital over the first three days of Lunar New Year was about 380.

The figures are comparable to figures in the past three weeks.

Both Tan Tock Seng Hospital and Changi General Hospital said the number of people turning up at their emergency departments over the eve and during the Lunar New Year period was not higher than previous weeks.

But the bed occupancy rate at Khoo Teck Puat Hospital (KTPH) was higher than last year by over 30 cases.

About 95 per cent of its patients suffered from acute conditions.

The top five conditions seen in KTPH's A&E during the LNY period were fever, sepsis, chest pains, stroke and pneumonia.

The hospital expects to see an increase in patients requiring admission for the next few days based on its observations on the trend for the past few years.

But more patients seem to be heading to GPs, with at least one of them noting an increase in the number of patients during this festive period.

This may be because most clinics are closed during the holiday period and there is a rush for medical services when the clinics reopen.

Most of the patients were also found to have suffered acute upper respiratory infections.

Dr Philip Koh, chairman of Healthway Medical Group's Medical Board, said: "Usually these patients have high fever, they have cough, runny nose and sore throat. These are usually flu-like symptoms, diarrhoea and vomiting as a result of food-related illnesses. The common reason is not drinking enough water during this period... together with the hot and dry weather." 

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