Monsoon Diseases, stay away!
For a nation that suffers summer for most of the year, rain comes as a welcome surprise. Sometimes it’s good enough to sit inside with some spare thoughts and tea, feeling chuffed about the weather outside, but other times we find ourselves wanting to dance in the rain and really feel the heat leave our bodies.
Though that sounds like the perfect activity, there are certain dangers of the monsoon which, if you aren’t careful, may very well ruin your time in the rain:
Food and Drink
The Fear: Contaminated food and drinks can cause pain in the abdomen and head, and when accompanied by a fever lasting for more than five days, followed by a rash, may in fact be Typhoid, a bacterial disease usually caused by the Salmonellae typhi bacteria. Also, a viral disease spread through contaminated food and water, Hepatitis A (a.k.a. Jaundice) is characterized by symptoms similar to the flu – an increase in body temperature with body ache, joint pains followed by loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting. This may be followed by a yellowish tinge in the eyes, skin and nails.
Save Yourself: To avoid both these traumatic and extremely painful ailments, you should make it a point to consume only homemade food in clean dishes, and avoid street food-even if they have been fried or stored in a make-shift fridge- at all cost. You should even consider carrying around a small bottle of hand sanitizer to apply on your hands and fingers before you eat a meal.
Mosquitoes and Rats
The Fear: Every puddle of water in the lane behind your house and every incident of water logging in nearby gutters or on open roofs are potential breeding grounds for mosquitoes, who find these conditions highly conducive. It’s the bite of an infected female Anopheles mosquito that causes Malaria, the deadliest monsoon illness. Wading through these puddles to clear a drain or traipsing through knee high floods on the roads, especially if you have any open wounds or injuries, leads to Leptospirosis, a bacterial disease spread by rats.
Save Yourself: Firstly, try to avoid leaving any containers holding water open and uncovered during the day. Secondly, make sure that there is no stagnant water in your neighbourhood. Use mosquito screens, nets, fibre glass meshes or magnetic insect repellent screens for your windows and regularly spray the inside of your house with mosquito repellents and insecticides. Thirdly, use ointments and creams that act as mosquito repellents every time you go out of the house, especially after dusk. Fourthly, try and avoid the temptation to jump around in stagnant rain water. If it’s brown and black and thick with muck, you don’t belong in it.
The Common Cold
The Fear: In the monsoons, the probability that your colleague is lying about feeling under the weather reduces drastically, because the cold really does become more common. This is due to the fact that viruses thrive better in humid conditions. Also, it’s better they stay home and heal because their germs can very easily be transferred to you.
Save Yourself: Keep your clothes dry, your face clean, your hands sanitized and your sneezes limited to handkerchiefs (ask those around you to extend this common courtesy as well). Fill up on fruits and vegetables, keep yourself hydrated with lukewarm water, green tea, fresh soups and juices, and avoid the AC if your clothes are wet. If you feel a fever coming on, bathe, take proper rest, and stay warm.