Monsoon Illnesses: Prevention Best

Words: Dr Pankaj AGGARWAL

Monsoon refreshes every living being, after the sizzling heat of summer. It also brings illnesses, primarily due to its warm, wet and humid climate.

Most monsoon illnesses are easily treated, while a few can, at times, be life-threatening.

Malaria 

This is the most common illness that ‘catches’ you in the rainy season. Malaria is spread by the female Anopheles mosquito. The problem of water logging, during the rainy season, helps ‘malarial’ mosquitoes to flourish and breed. Malaria causes millions of deaths in the tropics. Fever, at regular intervals, bouts of shivering, muscle pain and weakness are common symptoms.

Prevention  

Since malaria is spread by mosquitoes, anti-mosquito repellents and nets should be used to prevent it. Make sure that water does not stagnate in your area, as mosquitoes breed in them.

Apply insect repellent on clothes and exposed parts of the body, especially when you visit, or travel, to malaria-infested areas.

ABCD of prevention of malaria are —

  • Awareness about the risk of malaria
  • Bite prevention
  • Chemoprophylaxis: taking anti-malarial medication as prescribed by a doctor
  • Diagnosis and treatment.

Cholera 

Cholera is another deadly illness. The bacterium that causes cholera is usually found in food, or contaminated water. Also, poor hygienic conditions help this illness to spread. The illness booms in places with poor sanitation facilities. Severe diarrhoea with watery stools is the most common symptom. There may also be vomiting and muscle cramps.

Prevention 

It always wise to get vaccinated, as it ‘guards’ you for six months.

  • Wash hands with soap and water frequently
  • Drink only safe, filtered water, including bottled water, or boil your water. Hot beverages, or bottled drinks, are generally safe as they are canned, but clean them thoroughly from the outside before you open them
  • Eat food that’s well cooked and hot; avoid street food
  • Avoid sushi, as well as raw, or improperly cooked fish, or seafood, of any kind
  • Stick to fruits and vegetables that you can peel yourself
  • Be wary of dairy foods, including ice-cream, which is often contaminated, as also unpasteurised milk.

Typhoid 

Typhoid is a water-borne illness. It is common during monsoon. It is caused by styptic bacteria, which are transmitted through contaminated water and food. The worst part of the infection is it can remain in the gall bladder of the patient even after the illness is cured. The most common symptoms are prolonged fever, severe pain in the abdomen and headache.

Prevention 

This is a highly communicable illness, so the patient should be isolated from the rest of the family. Getting vaccination in advance helps. Typhoid patients should take a high intake of fluids to prevent dehydration. Precautions should continue even after apparent recovery.

Viral Fever

Viral fever is common all over the world, but during monsoon it’s more prevalent. Constant sneezing, sore throat and fever are the common symptoms.

Prevention 

The easiest way is to avoid the illness is not getting yourself wet in the rain. The best home-made remedy is a glass of warm turmeric milk. Gargling with warm water gives relief to your sore throat. If things don’t improve, it is always best to see a doctor.

Stomach Infections

Stomach infections, such as gastroenteritis, which causes severe vomiting and diarrhoea, are common during monsoon. In gastroenteritis, the stomach and intestines are irritated and inflamed. The cause is typically a viral, or bacterial, infection.

Prevention 

  • Wash your hands thoroughly after using the toilet
  • Do not eat, or drink, foods, or liquids, that may be contaminated
  • Wash fruits and vegetables, which have been kept in the open for a while, thoroughly
  • Keep your cutting board clean and use a separate cutting board for meat and vegetables
  • Drink adequate water to stay well-hydrated and ensure that the water is clean and filtered
  • Avoid consuming food that is spicy and rich in sugar.

Dengue 

Mosquitoes are always a problem for us. When a mosquito bites a person infected by the dengue virus, the virus enters the mosquito. When the infected mosquito bites another person, the virus enters that person’s bloodstream. Dengue fever is caused by tiger mosquito.

Prevention

  • Use mosquito nets when you sleep
  • Wear long-sleeved clothes and full trousers when going outdoors
  • Apply insect repellent on clothes and exposed parts of the body, especially when you visit, or travel, to dengue-infested areas.
Dr PANKAJ AGGARWAL, DHMS, Dip NIH, MD [Hom], PhD [Hom], Author-Ambassador, ThinkWellness360, is a New Delhi-based senior homeopath and academician. He has over 32 years of experience as a practicing homeopathic physician. He’s been teaching homeopathic medical students for 18 years. He has also been an examiner, besides being a guide and resource person for MD [Hom] students for over 20 years. He has mentored several students to be successful homeopathic doctors too. He’s been Vice-Principal and Principal at a reputed homeopathic medical college and also conducted seminars, workshops, medical and health camps etc., for over two decades. He’s been a clinical researcher too, for over a decade, and published a host of research and review papers in national and international medical journals, aside from several popular articles in national newspapers and magazines, including presentations, radio talks, and TV interviews. He lives in New Delhi, India.

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