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Health related problems during Monsoon

Health related problems during Monsoon

Rainy season is a time for scenic beauty while also bringing with it- a host of ailments ranging from a cough, cold, severe infections and increasing the risk of hospitalisation. Staying hygienic and adhering to basic preventive measures can help reduce life-threatening health issues.

Why do people often fall ill during monsoons?

Our immune system is built to fight against all external viruses, bacteria and infectious diseases while protecting us from falling ill. During the monsoons, the WBC (White blood cells) weaken due to temperature fluctuations, thus lowering our immunity. With a weaker immune system, bacterial diseases like typhoid and viral infections like common cold and viral fever tend to spread rapidly.

What are the common illnesses during monsoons? 

Rainwater causes common air borne and water borne diseases that include Malaria, Typhoid, Cholera, Common Cold and more. Water bodies get polluted easily during the rainy season thus increasing the risk of water borne diseases. When displaying symptoms for any of the diseases mentioned below Consult a Doctor Online or visit an OPD.

Common Cold

Common cold is a viral infection of the nose and throat (upper respiratory tract).  It usually appears one to three days after exposure to a cold-causing virus. 

Symptoms 

  • Fever
  • Sneezing
  • Sore throat

Prevention

  • Wash your hands
  • Avoid touching your face
  • Use hand sanitizers
  • Clean frequently used surfaces
  • Strengthen your immune system

Viral Fever

Viral  fever is caused by an underlying viral illness or an acute viral infection occurring due to the seasonal changes and infection in the environment.They are generally characterized by a rise in normal body temperature  i.e. beyond 98.6 degree Fahrenheit. 

Symptoms

General symptoms of a Viral Fever along with raised body temperature are:

  • Sweating
  • Dehydration
  • Headache
  • Weakness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Chills and shivering
  • Muscle aches and body pains

Prevention

  • Drink only clean water and preferably boiled water
  • Avoid getting wet in the rain
  • Avoid direct contact with napkins, tissues, handkerchiefs, or similar items used by others
  • Rinse all meat and vegetables with water before cooking
  • Cover a cough
  • Don’t share dishes, glasses, or eating utensils
  • Keep washing your hands

Malaria

Malaria generally coincides with the rainy season and is spread by the female Anopheles mosquito. 

Symptoms: 

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Headache
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Muscle pain and fatigue
  • Sweating
  • Chest or abdominal pain
  • Cough

Prevention 

  • Cover your skin and avoid dark color clothing 
  • Apply insect repellent to skin and clothing. 
  • Sleep under insecticide treated mosquito net.
  • Use appropriate mosquito repellents or liquidators.
  • Avoid water stagnation.

Dengue

Dengue is a mosquito-borne infection that can lead to severe flu-like illnesses. It is caused by four viruses and spread by Aedes mosquitoes.

Symptoms: 

  • High fever (104 degree Fahrenheit)
  • Severe headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Pain behind the eyes
  • Muscles, bones and joint pain 
  • Skin rashes
  • Mild bleeding (Nose bleeding and gums bleeding)

Prevention: 

  • Use appropriate mosquito repellents and liquidators. 
  • Wear protective clothing. Avoid dark colored clothing. 
  • Apply insect repellent to skin and clothing.
  • Ensure doors and windows with mesh have no visible holes   
  • Sleep under insecticide treated mosquito nets.
  • Avoid water stagnation

Chicken Pox 

Chickenpox is an infection caused by the varicella-zoster virus. It is highly contagious and people who are at a higher risk are those who have not had the disease, not been vaccinated for it and with weakened immune systems due to chronic conditions.

Symptoms: 

  • Body aches
  • Fever
  • Feeling extremely tired (fatigue)
  • Feeling irritable
  • Loss of appetite
  • Headache
  • Skin lesions

Prevention: 

  • Chickenpox (varicella) vaccine
  • Mosquito nets and repellants should be used.
  • All water sources at home should be properly capped.
  • Avoid water stagnation+

Cholera

Cholera is caused by contaminated food and water. It is a bacterial disease causing severe diarrhoea and dehydration, usually spread due to contaminated water with a bacterium called vibrio cholerae.

Symptoms

Cholera Symptoms are characterized by 

  • Diarrhea with watery stools 
  • Vomiting
  • Water loss from body
  • Muscle cramps
  • Seizures may occur in severe cases

Prevention

  • Boiling water before using maintaining personal hygiene 
  • Good sanitation
  • Taking a vaccine to prevent cholera

Typhoid

Monsoon or rainy season offers an ideal ground for typhoid, which is a highly infectious disease. Typhoid spreads by contaminated food and water. The biggest problem with typhoid is that, even after the patient is cured, the typhoid bacteria continue to stay in the gallbladder. 

Symptoms 

  • High Fever
  • Headache 
  • Stomach Pain
  • Weakness
  • Vomiting 
  • Loose Stools
  • Severe pain in the Abdomen

Prevention

  • Getting vaccinated
  • Isolating the infected from other members of the family.
  • Avoiding dehydration by greater intake of fluids, and continuing with care even after recovery. 
  • Typhoid may recur, so close monitoring of each case is crucial in the treatment of Typhoid.

Swine Flu

Swine Flu or swine influenza is a highly contagious respiratory infection caused by the H1N1 virus. H1N1 virus spreads quickly from person to person. Thousands of germs spread by a simple sneeze through the air. The virus can survive on tables and surface areas like door knobs, waiting to be carried. 

Symptoms

  • Cough
  • Fever
  • Sore throat
  • Stuffy or runny nose
  • Body ache
  • Headache
  • Chills
  • Fatigue

Preventions

  • Wash your hands frequently
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing
  • If experiencing flu-like symptoms, avoid close contact with others until you’ve been free of fever for the next 24 hours
  • Maintain a 6 feet distance from people with symptoms

Chikungunya Fever

Chikungunya fever is a transmissible disease that spreads by the bite of an infected aedes mosquito. Newborns and people with medical conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, or heart disease are at risk for severe complications. 

Symptoms

Symptoms usually begin 3–7 days after being bitten by an infected mosquito, they include: 

  • Fever and joint pain.
  • Headache
  • Muscle pain
  • Joint swelling
  • Rash

Prevention 

  • Use Insect Repellent with active DEET, picaridin etc.
  • Use mosquito netting if in an area that is open to the outdoors 
  • Cover strollers and baby carriers with mosquito netting
  • Wear Clothing that covers arms and legs
  • Stay or sleep indoors whenever possible

It is important to take preventive measures to safeguard against these diseases which may cause serious health problems during monsoons. It is better to be armed with information and create awareness for symptoms and precautions that help to be better prepared, and cope with illnesses brought in by this season. Visiting Doctors or Specialists and on time can save lives and prevent grave health problems.

Reference:

  • Common cold, https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/common-cold/symptoms-causes/syc-20351605, Mayoclicnic, Last accessed on 9th June, 2020.
  • Common cold preventions, https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/12342-common-cold/prevention, Cleveland Clinic, Last accessed on 9th June, 2020.
  • Swine flu, https://www.webmd.com/cold-and-flu/features/swine-flu-10-things-not-to-do#1,WebMd, Last accessed on 9th June, 2020.

  •  Chikungunya, https://www.cdc.gov/chikungunya/prevention/index.html, Centers for disease and control prevention, WebMd, Last accessed on 9th June, 2020.
  • What you need to know about typhoid, https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/156859, Medical News Today, Last accessed on 9th June, 2020.

  • Cholera,https://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/cholera-faq#1, WebMd, Last accessed on 9th June, 2020.

  • Chickenpox, https://www.webmd.com/children/what-is-chickenpox, WebMd, Last accessed on 9th June, 2020.

About Author –

Dr. Vighnesh Naidu Y, Consultant Physician, Yashoda Hospitals - Hyderabad
M.S, M.Ch. (Cardio - Thoracic & Vascular Surgery) FIACS

Dr Vighnesh Naidu

Dr. Vighnesh Naidu Y

MD (Interal Medicine)
Consultant Physician
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