Monsoon brings with it plenty of life. But, as the evil face of every good season, monsoon reduces the body’s immunity making everyone susceptible to some deadly diseases commonly related to this season. The dampness, stagnant pools and puddles of water formed due to rain are perfect breeding grounds for mosquitoes which spread diseases like malaria and dengue fever and other disease-causing micro-organisms. It is time for everyone to keep the body resistant against diseases by boosting immunity and taking precautions against these diseases
In India, mostly diseases like Malaria, Hepatitis, Common cold and gastro-intestinal diseases like Cholera and Typhoid break out each year and run havoc throughout the country; from village to towns and from cities to metropolis. Now, new viral infections like Chikungunya and Dengue are also creating havoc in the country. As always told ‘prevention is better than cure’, some small tips and their practices can prevent these diseases and keep them at bay.
While anyone can come down with these diseases, children are more susceptible to fall sick. These diseases can often be life-threatening in the case of children, if appropriate care is not taken on time.
Given below are some of the common monsoon-related diseases you should protect yourself and your family from:
Symptoms: Fever occurs at regular intervals, usually every day at the same time. Headaches and nausea are common along with bouts of shivering. The patient experiences muscle pain and weakness.
Prevention: As the disease is spread by mosquitoes, mosquito nets and repellents should be used to prevent Malaria. In addition, do not let water stagnate anywhere near your area as stagnant water is conducive for mosquitoes to breed. Use DDT in the drains near your home.
Malaria is the most dangerous disease. Please do not ignore any symptoms of malaria and consult a doctor immediately if you feel any sign of the disease.
Cholera is another dangerous disease that spreads during the monsoon season. Major causes of this disease are contaminated food and water. In addition, poor hygienic conditions are other encouraging factors for the spread of this disease. The disease normally spreads in places where the sanitation facilities are poor.
Most common symptoms of Cholera include severe diarrhea with watery stools. The disease could also lead to severe vomiting resulting in immediate water loss and muscle cramps.
Prevention: While it is always better to get vaccinated for Cholera since it gives protection for about 6 months, keeping the drinking water clean and boiling it before use is the best prevention. In addition, maintaining personal hygiene and good sanitation also helps prevent Cholera.
Although Cholera can be treated easily, it can be life-threatening if its symptoms are ignored at the initial stages and treatment is not given on time. Oral rehydration should immediately be given if in case, one catches Cholera.
Typhoid too spreads during the monsoon season. The cause of this disease is contaminated food and water. The worst part about this disease is that the infection of Typhoid can remain in the patient’s gall bladder despite cured. This can be fatal for the patient’s health.
Prolonged fever is the most common symptom of this disease. Headache and severe pain in abdomen are indications of this disease.
Prevention: Typhoid patient should be isolated from other members of the family as it is a highly communicable disease. Getting vaccinated in advance can be of great help. Patients should consume lots of fluid to prevent dehydration. Typhoid patient should take utmost care as this disease has the tendency to relapse in two weeks time. Precautions should continue even after the recovery from the disease.
Chikungunya and Dengue
It is worth noting that India has witnessed a surge in cases of Chikungunya and Dengue recently. These monsoon-related diseases borne by mosquito bites pose a major health threat to the larger populations in India. Both diseases have similar symptoms, though hemorrhagic manifestations are comparatively rare in chikungunya.
Dengue starts with headache, chills, low backache and pain upon moving eyes. Extreme pain in the joints and legs occur during the onset of the disease. The temperature rises very quickly to as high as 104, with relative low heart rate and low blood pressure.
Prevention: The best way to prevent from both these diseases is to avoid mosquito bites. There is no preventive drug or vaccine currently available for these ailments. The best bet would be to keep the homes mosquito-free.
Mosquito bites can be avoided by:
1. Using mosquito repellent (Although regular inhalation of chemicals found in mosquito coils and mats is not advisable, but is surely a better option than getting bitten by a mosquito and risking Chikungunya or Dengue)
2. Wearing long sleeves shirts and pants
3. Having secure screens on doors and windows to keep mosquitoes out
4. Getting rid of sources that breed mosquitoes in your homes, streets and yards by emptying standing water from flower pots, buckets and barrels
Additionally, a patient afflicted with chikungunya and Dengue fever should limit their exposure to mosquito bites, as this will further spread the infection to others. The patient should use mosquito repellent creams when outdoors to avoid mosquito bites or stay indoors under a mosquito net or in areas with mosquito screens.
Be cautious, stay fit and enjoy the beautiful Indian monsoons!
(Author: Dr. G Surender Rao Founder & Managing Director Yashoda Group of Hospitals)
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