Wednesday, July 13th, 2016

What are the common monsoon diseases and how to deal with them

Rajkumari Tankha | July 13, 2016 11:04 am Print
While rains mean lots of fun and greenery all around, these also mean several health problems
Monsoon : For representational purposes only

The monsoon has finally arrived. Almost all the parts of the country are experiencing rains, some less some more, and some heavy. While rains mean lots of fun and greenery all around, these also mean several health problems.

The dampness, muck and stagnant pools of water that are formed everywhere during the rainy season are an ideal breeding ground for disease-causing organisms. Both food and water gets contaminated easily during monsoon hence one must be extra careful about what he/she is consuming.

The most common ailments during this season are related to respiratory and digestive systems. These include:

Leptospirosis is very common during monsoon, especially among children, as they wade through pools of dirty water for fun where the disease-causing bacterium Leptospira spp dwells.
High fever along with cold chills, severe headache or muscle ache is common in the patients suffering from leptospirosis. If you ignore these symptoms it may lead to nausea, vomiting and later abdominal pain and diarrhoea. Left untreated, the patient could develop liver failure, respiratory diseases, kidney damage or meningitis.
1. Avoid contact with stagnant rainwater, it is likely to be contaminated by animal urine.
2. Keep all wounds clean and covered; use antiseptics to clean the wound and prevent infection.
3. Avoid swimming in possibly contaminated water like sea, lakes, etc.

It is caused by protozoan Plasmodium spp. (P.vivax, P.falciparum, P.malariae or P.ovale). The disease is spread by the female Anopheles mosquito that transfers the pathogen from an infected person to a healthy one.
Fever at regular intervals, usually at the same time everyday. Headaches and nausea is common along with bouts of shivering. The patient also experiences muscle pain and weakness. Malaria can be very harmful if not treated in time.
1. Protect yourself from mosquitoes by using mosquito repellents and nets.
2. Do not allow water to stagnate as mosquito larvae thrive in stagnating water. Ask your municipal authorities to spray your area with a mosquito repellent and clear any stagnating pools.
3. If there is a lake or pond near your house, then introduce gambusia fish in it. These fish feed on mosquito larvae and can help control the mosquito population.

Caused by intake of food and water contaminated by human faeces, cholera is highly contagious. Flies act as carriers of the disease, which is why the disease spreads faster in areas of poor sanitation, and sanitation takes a toll during rainy season. The pathogen responsible is Vibrio cholerai.
Severe diarrhea with watery stools. Vomiting without any nausea. There is a lot of fluid loss in the first few hours, causing rapid weight loss and severe muscle cramps. Eyes may seem to be shrunken. Children infected with the disease may get fever, convulsions and may even become comatose. Adults, on the other hand, experience mental apathy.
1. Drink boiled water and well-cooked food. Keep all eatables covered.
2. Maintain proper personal hygiene and good sanitation in the surroundings.

The disease is caused by the bacterium Salmonella typhi and is highly infectious. The bacteria are present in human faeces, and a healthy person may fall prey to the disease by consuming contaminated food and water.
Prolonged fever that begins to rise on the fifth day. Headache and confusion are common along with severe abdominal pain. A patient develops rashes on the body and experiences bouts of constipation followed by diarrhoea.
1. Get yourself vaccinated against typhoid.

Hepatitis A
The Hepatitis A virus causes this disease, which is spread by eating contaminated food.
The patient shows symptoms similar to that of flu. High body temperature accompanied by headache and joint pain is experienced. There is loss of appetite and the patient may suffer from nausea and vomiting. Rashes may appear on the body and the urine turns dark is colour. Outwardly, the patient has a yellow tinge on the body.
1. The hepatitis virus vaccination is a must.

Steps to take to keep diseases at bay during rainy season:
Although the following steps should taken even other, these are a must during rainy season.
1. Increasing the intake of Vitamin C either in natural form or as food supplement will help you drive away the cold virus faster.
2. If you have been caught in rain, do take a shower after reaching home. It will protect against many infections..
3. Hot soups , a cup of hot milk is very good during rainy season. This will help you from catching cold and other kinds of infection that can occur during rainy season.
4. Maintain proper hygiene and keep your surroundings clean.
5. Drink plenty of water; do not wait to get thirsty to drink water. This will help you drain toxins from your body.
6. Eat nutritious food and avoid eating out during rainy season. Prepare meal with full precaution and maintain health and hygiene throughout the house.

Rajkumari Tankha
Rajkumari Tankha
The writer is a Delhi-based journalist. She has previously worked for Ministry of I & B (Govt of India), Hindustan Times and Special Audience Publications.