Monsoon Illness? Be your own doctor!

240_03_july30Be your own doctor this monsoon!

The first spell of monsoon brings in the much needed relief from the unbearable heat; the soothing smell of wet soil, cloud-speckled skies and the sounds of raindrops lend a certain kind of freshness to the air to give a heartfelt introduction to monsoons and prepare you to magical moments.

However, with cool breeze and earthy smell, monsoon season is also best known for causing all kinds of food, water and airborne infections. A little precaution and extra care can help avoid illnesses during the season. Reduced immunity and greater exposure to the disease causing germs are among the reasons for monsoon to being generally unhealthy season in the country.

Water borne diseases such as Hepatitis A, Typhoid, Cholera, loose motions and leptospirosis are at high risk and most of them are not aware about it. Leptospirosis is an infection caused by leptospira germs which are present in rat’s urine. A person walking bare foot in puddles of water or with injuries or cut in leg is prone to get affected with it causing kidney or liver dysfunction. Drinking contaminated water is very common in monsoon, as most of the water pipe lines flow from the low lying area and chance of leakage are not ruled out.

Contaminated water can lead to gastroenteritis, Cholera, Typhoid, and Hepatitis A & E. Stagnant and scattered water leads to breeding of mosquitoes causing Malaria, Dengue and Chikungunya with rapid rise and fall in body temperature of the patient.

With temperature change, water contamination, and water stagnation monsoon also triggers viral infections. Despite having cold, cough, high fever, now H1N1 also known as swine flu is spreading fast around the world. Swine flu is contagious, and spreads in the same way as the seasonal flu. A little precaution, though, can help avoid illnesses during the season. We need to be extra careful for ourselves and our families.

Strict No to Street Foods
Monsoon entices you and increases your cravings for some street food such as bhajiya, vadapav, bhel, panipuri, chat etc. If you are a street food fan, try to avoid its intake during the monsoon season. Try and prepare the same at home in hygienic condition and eat.

Avoid water and ice outside
Have boiled, bottled and purified water. Avoid water and ice that is not made from the above kind of water. Don’t drink beverages made other than from treated boiled water and do not add ice, even if they are not chilled to your liking. Avoid juices, buttermilk, lemon juice, etc, from street vendors.

Some infections can be prevented, if we go in for advance vaccination and it does not cost much. Vaccinations are available for Hepatitis A&E and H1N1. Especially children should be administered the same.

Pre-cut fruits or vegetable
Avoid fresh fruits, which have been pre – cut or peeled and kept in the open. It is strongly recommended to be careful about leafy vegetables like cabbage, spinach, fenugreek (methi) etc. Presence of mud, dirt and worms make it infectious. Fruits like pears, peaches, plums, papayas and bananas are available in plenty and are tasty too, wash them well before consuming.

Be Mosquito Free
Rain showers invites mosquitoes which in turn invite diseases like malaria and dengue. Keep your home and surrounding clean and garbage free. Remove the stagnant water from your surroundings. After dark, keep windows and doors closed or block out the light with curtains.Use mosquito repellent sprays on exposed skin to avoid direct contact with mosquitoes. Try and wear full sleeves clothing while going out and also apply mosquito repellant. Sleep in mosquito net.

Frequent Hand Wash
Maintaining simple hygiene practices such as frequent hand washing especially before meals for prevention of communicable diseases. Washing hands frequently also helps to prevent various other diseases during monsoon.

Have balanced and protein rich diet
Include antioxidant rich food such as green tea,fresh fruits, nuts to fight against infection.Ensure that that you eat a balanced and protein rich diet to build on the immunity in the monsoon season.

Our body is susceptible to many infections. Taking precaution and care is good. Be healthy to enjoy the monsoon thoroughly. Try and have hot piping beverages and food at home and ensure that it is hygienically prepared. Visit your family physician for normal flu and cold as well. It is recommended to have nutritious food and vitamin pills, recommended by your doctors. So follow these simple instructions and be your own doctor this monsoon!


Dr. Manjusha Agarwal,
General Physician, Global Hospitals, Mumbai

Image: Getty Images