Courtesy high humidity, the monsoon is the perfect time for germs that cause water-borne diseases to thrive. While general health precautions like washing hands and drinking boiled water go a long way in keeping infections at bay, here are other simple ways to safeguard your health.
Cough and cold
Staying in wet clothes for hours in an air-conditioned environment can lead to hypothermia or low body temperature leading to shivering. Viral fever transmitted through the air in the form of droplets is also very common. You can fall sick simply by coming in contact with surfaces contaminated by the virus, let alone affected individuals. Unwashed hands are the biggest cause for the spread of common cold.
- Wash hands thoroughly before eating or after returning from outdoors.
- Use hand sanitisers.
- Cut down on smoking as it weakens the respiratory system, making you more prone to the cold virus.
- Limit alcohol consumption as it dehydrates the body.
- Dengue and Malaria
- Mosquitoes have a field day during the season as they breed in stagnant water, leading to an increase in mosquito-transmitted diseases, including dengue and malaria.
Protect yourself against these deadly monsoon diseases
- The only way to protect yourself against these deadly diseases is to prevent mosquitoes from breeding. Living in a high-rise doesn't necessarily make you immune to mosquitoes. "Make sure the stagnant water collected from potted plants is properly disposed. Keep all buckets covered and inverted when not in use. Check all water-collecting crevices," advises Dr Vimal Pahuja, GP, LH Hiranandani Hospital.
- Apply mosquito-repellent creams before turning in.
- Get mosquito screens or nets installed in your home.
Leptospirosis during monsoon is caused when the bacterium excreted by rats and other animals mixes with rainwater. When a person with open wounds comes in contact with the infected rainwater, germs enter the blood stream and slowly attack the liver.
- Avoid wading through rainwater as much as possible. If you cannot avoid walking through puddles, wear open-soled shoes that allow the water to pass through and wash your feet thoroughly afterwards.
- If there are wounds or cuts on your legs, bandage them properly. Once home, wash with an antiseptic lotion and allow to dry.
- Keep an extra pair of clothes and shoes in the office, in case you get caught in the rain and need to change.
- Gastroenteritis, Diarrhea, cholera
- Water-borne illnesses are caused by drinking water that has been contaminated with excreta and germs.
Protect yourself against these deadly water-borne diseases
- "The most effective measure against water-borne diseases is to drink water that has been boiled, irrespective of whether it is packaged or filtered," says Dr Pahuja.
- Avoid eating roadside snacks as they may be contaminated with bacteria due to unhealthy conditions. Also avoid consuming raw foods.
- Eat in moderation as the digestive ability of the body diminishes considerably during the monsoon and can easily cause indigestion.
Ever noticed that eeky-looking green fungus sitting on your clothes during the rains? Well, it also affects skin and hair. Because of the humidity, skin tends to secrete more oil and sweat in this season, which attracts germs. Candida is a fungus that is present on the skin, which if constantly exposed to water multiplies causing infection. Scalp problems such as hair loss, itchiness and dandruff are also common.
- Avoid staying in wet or damp clothes for long periods of time since it increases the chance of infection.
- Use a face wash and an oil-free moisturiser.
- Shower twice a day and use anti-fungal powders.
- Try to keep your hair as dry as possible and make it a point to shampoo frequently.