In India, the monsoon is celebrated because of the respite it offers from the scorching summer. However, the rain gods also bring with them a slew of health issues that result from unhygienic practices that are exacerbated by the accumulating rainwater. Moreover, the humidity and winds, unfortunately, end up being carriers for a host of viruses.
Stated below are the:
Arguably the most common viral infection, flu produces typical symptoms including fever, cough and cold, runny nose, sneezing, and aching muscles.
The monsoons are synonymous with malaria, a disease that is caused and spread by the Anopheles mosquitoes that breed in stagnant, dirty water. Common symptoms include high fever, chills, body ache, and persistent sweating.
This comprises a group of contagious infections that are caused by viruses. Viral fever spreads from one person to the other when there is contact with the infected individual’s bodily fluids. Common symptoms include fever, dizziness, fatigue, weakness, chills, and pain in the body, joints and muscles.
Viral fever can last anywhere between 4-7 days.
Arguably the most common affliction during monsoon, dengue can be fatal if not treated on time. A particular family of mosquitos – the Aedes aegypti – is responsible for the spread of this disease. Remember that these mosquitoes are more likely to bite at dawn or dusk. Common symptoms include a high fever, rashes, headache a reduced platelet count, and (sometimes) hypersensitivity.
Also called Chikungunya fever, it is a viral infection that is transmitted by mosquitoes breeding in stagnant water. Symptoms typically appear within a week of contracting the infection. While the more common symptoms include fever and joint pain, fatigue, rashes, headache and muscle pain may occur as well.
The best method of prevention is to avoid getting bitten by mosquitoes. For that, you must:
Also called enteric fever, typhoid is a bacterial infection caused by Salmonella typhi, a gram-negative bacterium. Contaminated water and food are the primary spreaders of typhoid. Even after medical intervention, the bacterium might persist in the infected individual’s gallbladder.
Common symptoms include prolonged fever, abdominal pain, constipation, weakness, vomiting, and dizziness.
It is a bacterial infection that leads to dehydration and severe diarrhoea. While extremely rare (less than five thousand cases per year in India), cholera can quickly turn fatal and kill within hours, if not treated on time. Unhygienic living conditions and poor sanitation are the usual causes of this disease.
Key symptoms include diarrhoea, dehydration, muscle cramps, and low blood pressure.
Maintaining hygiene is the only preventive measure you can take. Generally, it is advisable to avoid street food (or cut fruits that have been kept in the open for a long time) and water, the source of which you do not know.
More commonly known as stomach bug or gastro, gastroenteritis is an infection of the intestine, marked by stomach cramps, diarrhoea, low-grade fever, nausea, and vomiting.
Have the rains got you reaching out for that plate of steaming fritters? Hold on, there! We don’t want to be party-poopers, but before you dig in, we advise you to go through this list of foods to avoid during the monsoon:
This might be counterintuitive, considering healthcare experts have always recommended greens. However, leafy vegetables are best avoided in this season, for the dampness and grime in them make them the perfect breeding spots for pathogens and germs. Give the cauliflower, cabbage and spinach a miss. Instead, choose the more pungent vegetables in the market.
Wash all vegetables well before cooking.
Avoid any food item that is sliced and exposed to the monsoon air. Nothing beats the freshly-made juice at home.
A quick tip: Even if you are making it at home, make sure you aren’t keeping fruits out in the open for long. The idea is not to let any food come in contact with the air, for it may already be contaminated.
The reason why you should keep off fried foods is that the humid air slows down your digestion. No matter how appetising that spread of kachoris and samosas may seem, they might lead to gastronomic complications like an upset stomach and bloating. Also, the excess salt content in fritters can cause water retention.
Monsoon is the breeding time for prawns and other sea fish. Therefore, it is advised to stay away from these. Eat mutton or chicken to satiate your cravings. However, if you have to eat seafood, make sure they’re of the freshest variety. Cook them thoroughly before eating.
We all know how irresistible a can of lime soda is. But the freshness notwithstanding, any fizzy drink reduces the body’s mineral content, thereby further compromising enzyme activity. This is not desirable, especially with poor gut health. Always keep a bottle of nimbu paani (fresh lime water) handy or consume warmer beverages like green tea or ginger tea.
Conditions like ear infections and conjunctivitis can also develop at this time of the year. Seek prompt medical intervention should you notice any symptom.
Remember that this season plays the perfect host to pathogens and a slew of infections. But you can always take the necessary preventive measures to give your immunity that much-needed boost so that you can revel in a fun and healthy monsoon.