Monsoons: With Rain Comes Many Diseases. Be Alert!

beware of the common monsoon season health problems

Contributed by- Dr. Dhrity Vats

Here comes monsoons- the weather most love, a time when everything around looks bright and clean. Colourful umbrellas and raincoats are out and the smell of chai and pakoras tempt you like never before. And then, the showers bring in a lot of relief from the scorching sun. But it isn’t just the good things monsoon brings with it!

With the pleasant showers comes mosquitoes and many infections. These mosquitoes have graduated from being “just a thing in the air’ to being dreaded because they bring in many vector borne diseases along with them. Moreover, the rain water is the perfect breeding ground for germs and bacteria which in turn leads to water borne diseases that affects a lot of people. After the first showers of monsoon the weather becomes humid enabling germs to survive much longer than usual, and travel farther, resulting in a sudden spike in infections like conjunctivitis, gastroenteritis, fungal infections of skin and hair, cholera and even Hepatitis A.

The infections/ diseases in monsoon can be broadly be categorised as:

Waterborne: which are spread due to contaminated water like jaundice, tonsillitis, common flu, typhoid, conjunctivitis and even bronchial infection

Vector borne: which spread and are carried by a vector, i.e. mosquito, like dengue, malaria and chikungunya.

 

Lets have a look at all the diseases that can one should be wary of during the monsoons

Eye infections


Good eye care should become a priority during the monsoons to protect one from infections like conjunctivitis, sty, dry eyes and corneal ulcers, which if not treated or taken care of can lead to blindness.

Symptoms

  • Pain in eyes
  • Continuous watering of eyes
  • Blurred vision
  • Redness
  • Itching
  • Sticky feeling in eyes

 

Care

  • Do not touch your eyes with dirty, contaminated hands or cloth.
  • Wash your eyes with cold water gently (DO NOT SPLASH WATER IN THE EYES, it can damage your eye)
  • If itching occurs do not rub your eyes, rather pat with a clean, soft towel or cotton cloth
  • Avoid watching TV or laptop for long hours as it can strain your eyes
  • If you swim, use swimming goggles to avoid catching infection
  • Do not use OTC medicines for eyes without consulting a doctor
  • Wear glasses when going out, it will protect you from infections
  • Do not share towels

 

Stomach infections


This is the time of the year when your taste buds become super active and win over your brain, but this can be very dangerous as this gives a way to stomach viral infections like gastroenteritis, diarrhea, cholera in severe cases and even food poisoning. The infections reach the large intestine after entering orally through ingestion of contaminated food or water, oral contact with contaminated objects or hands.

Symptoms

  • Pain in stomach
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Cramping in lower abdomen
  • Flatulence
  • Bloody stools
  • Diarrhea

 

Care

  • Wash your hands before and after eating
  • Use a sanitiser every time you enter home or workplace
  • Do not drink water from anywhere, carry your own water bottle
  • Avoid eating outside food
  • Do not eat uncooked food anywhere like onions and salads in restaurants
  • If forced to eat outside food then choose hot, steamed or fried foods. There are fewer chances of them being contaminated
  • Keep yourself hydrated
  • Do not self-medicate
  • In case of infection, a timely stomach check-up is advised.

 

Fever


During monsoons, the risks of getting fevers like Dengue, Chikungunya and Malaria are at very high percentage. All these diseases are vector borne, i.e. they are caused by a mosquito bite. Both Chikungunya and Dengue are fevers caused by the same mosquito bite, Aedes, and show similar symptoms, so it becomes quite difficult to differentiate between the two fevers.

Read: Dengue and Chikungunya: Understanding the difference between the two‎, to know more about these diseases.

On the other hand, the malaria is caused by the bite of a female Anopheles mosquito and is characterised by fever and chills. According to World Health Organization, close to 1 in 7 people in India are at risk of contracting malaria.

Read: Malaria is preventable, yet resurgent to know more about malaria, its prevention and cure.

Incase, you have high fever, do not ignore it and rely on over the  counter medicines. But visit a doctor and get yourself checked for fever, to identify the actual cause.  Infections leading to fever during monsoons can be due to varying reasons ranging from contaminated water to a mosquito bite, hence, the identification of the actual cause behind fever is crucial for correct treatment and timely recovery.

 

Chest infections

Bacterial infections are on a rise during monsoons,  as the weather is good for fast bacterial growth. Respiratory tract infections, like the common cold, are a common phenomenon during the monsoons. The chances of pneumonia also increase, especially in people who have lung problems. Because of unpredictable rains, many people get completely drenched when it pours heavily. Therefore, the chances of recurring cold and cough are highest during the rainy season.

Symptoms

  • Sneezing
  • Coughing
  • Irritation in throat
  • Sputum
  • Pain in chest

 

Care

  • Use a hand sanitizer regularly
  • Cover your face while coughing or sneezing with a handkerchief
  • Have lots of fluids and keep yourself hydrated
  • Avoid alcohol and caffeine
  • Do gargling regularly

 

Skin infections

Monsoons gives a moist, supple feeling to the skin. The moisture outside keeps the skins soft but sweating increases due to the presence of moisture in the air. The sweat can lead to foul smell from your body and clothes. There are a lot of bacterial and fungal growths seen in skin during monsoon. Ringworms easily grow in such conditions. The hair follicles even swell up and hair becomes greasy soon.

Symptoms

  • Excessive sweating
  • Itching in folds of skin
  • Itching in feet
  • Smelly feet
  • Itching on scalp and hair

 

Care

  • Use sanitiser frequently
  • Wash your face often with a low pH face wash
  • Use disinfectants such as Dettol or Savlon in bath
  • Wear dry clothes which are not damp
  • Avoid excess perspiration
  • Use anti-perspirant powders for feet
  • Wash and dry your hair completely
  • Opt for open shoes during hot and humid days to prevent fungal feet
  • Avoid getting wet in the rain

 

Prevention is always better than cure, and this holds true for monsoons also. Take care of what you eat and drink. Follow the above given advice and keep your surrounding clean to make them mosquito free. These basic precautions will keep many of these diseases away from you.

 

If In Doubt, Get Tested
 

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