Contributed by- Dr. Pooja Chaudhary
Delhi is a city beleaguered by infections, especially during a season change. Diseases such as dengue, chikungunya, typhoid, breathing disorders impact the life of people living in Delhi NCR to a major extent. Over the years the impact of these diseases has grown manifold. Main factors liable for this significant increase are unhealthy eating habits, sedentary lifestyle, poor sleeping habits, increasing pollution, smoking and susceptibility to stress.
Here is a list of common diseases that you should be aware of and an insight into their signs, symptoms, causes and prevention.
Typhoid is an infection caused by the bacteria Salmonella typhimurium. The bacterium lives in the intestines and bloodstream of humans and can spread between individuals by direct contact with the faeces of an infected person.
Signs and symptoms: Includes high fever, headache, abdominal pain, and either constipation or diarrhoea.
Typhoid fever spreads through contaminated food and water or through close contact with someone who’s infected.
Typhoid fever can be a life-threatening bacterial infection that affects many organs throughout the body. Hence, timely checkup of typhoid is important. It can also be prevented by:
- Washing hands with soap & water, before eating or preparing food & after using the toilet.
- Avoid drinking untreated water
- Avoid eating raw fruits & vegetables
- Choose hot food
Delhi turns into a breeding ground for mosquitoes after winters. The situation becomes worse if it receives rain. Hundreds of people get affected and hospitals become swarmed with chikungunya, dengue and malaria patients.
Signs and symptoms: Includes high fever, eye pain, rashes, body ache, shivering ( in malaria only) and low energy. If any of these symptoms are visible, a timely blood test for dengue, chikungunya, and malaria is recommended.
Dengue: It is transmitted to human bodies through the bite of female Aedes mosquitoes and from an infected human to another, in cases of blood transfusion. It has been seen that the dengue-causing mosquitoes mostly bites during the night.
Malaria: It is caused by the transmission of Plasmodium (parasitic protozoa) into the body’s system through a mosquito bite. Malaria test should be conducted to evade complications.
Chikungunya: It is also caused by the bite of the same female Aedes mosquitoes that causes dengue. In few people, body aches and weakness stays for many months. Since the symptoms are very similar, a separate test to confirm chikungunya is recommended.
There are no medical ways or vaccines to prevent these diseases. But it is recommended to:
- Wear clothes that cover you fully
- Apply mosquito repellent creams
- Avoid water stagnation in the surroundings, because they become excellent breeding grounds for mosquitoes
- Make the living area and surroundings clean and hygienic
- Change the water in room coolers at least once a week
To know more about Chikungunya & Dengue read: Chikungunya vs Dengue: Understanding the difference between the two
Rising air pollution in the city is posing serious health hazards to all.
Shortness of breath can make it hard or uncomfortable for a person to take in the required oxygen the body needs. It is important to get it checked as shortness of breath can also be a sign of a serious disease.
There are many conditions that can make a person feel short of breath like asthma, emphysema, or pneumonia, heart disease, anxiety and panic attacks. Pollution and exposure to pollens during season change aggravates the situation further.
There is no sure way to prevent breathing problems but the risk can be reduced by:
- Washing hands frequently, especially when you have people around you with cold
- Try keeping hands away from your nose, eyes, and mouth, as these are the places through which viruses are most likely to enter the body
- Avoid smoking or use of any other form of tobacco products
- Keeping the motor vehicle windows rolled up and the vents closed while driving
- Exercise regularly
- Avoid clean-up activities
Any seasonal change triggers digestive and gut issues in most. Digestive disorders like food poisoning, gastroenteritis and irritable bowel movement impact life of many across all age groups.
Signs and symptoms: Includes abdominal bloating, heaviness in the stomach, belching, acidity, nausea, vomiting, dehydration
Sudden change in temperature weakens the immune system. During summers the viruses and bacteria grow more rapidly than in any other season. Hence, with the rising mercury, there is almost 45% increase in stomach infections and problems with the gut. This makes stomach test to rule out serious disorders imperative during summers.
Being extra cautious during any seasonal change is the best way to prevent gut and digestion problems. Follow basic advice:
- Eat home cooked food, and avoid outside food.
- Wash hands regularly.
- Avoid stale food, even if it is home cooked.
- Drink ample water/ liquids to stay hydrated.
URINARY TRACT INFECTION (UTI)
Though UTI is an all the year round threat, seasonal changes trigger the infection more. During winters due to less water intake, the risk increases and during summers and rainy season, the rapid growth of bacteria makes one more prone to UTI. Urinary tract infection is more common in women than men and is caused by bacteria Escherichia Coli or E.Coli. It occurs in the urinary tract that comprises the urethra, bladder, ureters and kidneys.
Most common cause for the infection is unhygienic bathrooms where these bacteria are mostly found. E.Coli gets attached to the cell lining of the urinary tract, multiply there and forms a protected film and therefore becomes resistant to medication.
Following steps can be followed to reduce the risk of UTI:
- Liquid intake: Increase the intake of water and other liquids, which will help to flush out the bacteria
- Avoid holding or delaying urinating any longer than necessary
- Always wipe from front to back after urinating or having a bowel movement
- It is important to urinate immediately after having sexual intercourse
- Avoid vaginal deodorants, douches, powders, and other potentially irritating feminine products
- Use a method of birth control other than a diaphragm, spermicide, or unlubricated condoms
- Drinking cranberry juice is also recommended as a way to help prevent UTIs.
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