Surviving monsoon: Here's all you need to know
While you might rejoice and try to soak up the rain this monsoon, keep in mind the toll it can take on your health. The weather conditions are conducive for the growth of many microorganisms, besides the stomach bug and plethora of serious ailments you could get due to poor hygiene, eating out and being careless.
One of the main causes of these diseases is the breeding of mosquitoes due to water-logging.
Take Dengue, which is transmitted via mosquitoes that mostly bite only during the day and breed in clean, fresh water, which plagues many every year. Symptoms include severe joint and muscle pain, swollen lymph nodes, headache, fever, exhaustion, and rash.
"There is no specific treatment but papaya leaf extract can give some relief in the initial stages. If the condition deteriorates then you may even need hospital care. Wear full sleeved clothing when you're out in the day and avoid accumulation of water in and around the house for prolonged period," says Dr Zeenat Ahmed, internal medicine specialist, Jaypee Hospital, Noida, says.
Another common disease is Malaria, caused by the bite of an infected Anopheles mosquito that breeds in dirty water. Symptoms include fever, body ache, chills, and sweating, while treatment options include anti-malarial drugs.
Dr M Udaya Kumar Maiya, medical director, Portea Medical, says, "If not treated on time, it can cause jaundice, anaemia, liver and kidney failure. Avoid stagnation of water and use mosquito screens, nets, meshes and insect repellent at home. Avoid going out right after dusk."
Dr Maiya adds, "Leptospirosis, a bacterial disease spread by rats, is common in this season. It happens when you wade in dirty water. Those with injuries and people with diabetes should be especially careful. Symptoms include high fever and chills, with severe headache and bodyache, followed by nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea and abdominal pain."
People are also prone to viral infections as the humid weather is great for viruses to thrive in. Usually, a secondary bacterial infection sets in subsequently.
Staying in wet clothes for a long time and exposure to humid air from air-conditioners only increases the chances of falling ill.
DON'T GET STOMACH BUGGED
Eating irresponsibly, aided by contamination of food due to bacterial microbes in the monsoon can result in stomach infections like diarrhoea, cholera, food poisoning, bloating, cramps, indigestion, and food poisoning. Symptoms include nausea, vomiting, stomach pain and bloody stool.
Saumya Satakshi, senior nutritionist, Healthians, says, "Avoid eating outside, drink boiled water and wash your hands before and after eating. Take khichdi and curd which is rich in probiotics. Avoid caffeine and tea."
Gastroenteritis is another disease many get in the monsoon. It can lead to severe loss of fluid from the body, so the first step of treatment is rehydration.
Dr Zeenat says, "Eat Vitamin C-rich foods to boost your immunity." Shruti adds, "Due to humidity, our digestion slows down, making the stomach more susceptible to bloating and tummy upsets. So, munching on pakodas and bhajis can take a toll on your already weak digestive system."
Avoid eating raw foods that have been lying in the open as they are a good breeding spot for germs, especially when it's humid.
Practicing good hygiene is crucial to stay disease-free in the monsoon. So bathe regularly and use anti-bacterial soaps, creams and talc to keep bacterial and fungal problems at bay, especially if you are susceptible to infections.
Wash your hands and feet with disinfectant soap and use anti-bacterial or fungal talc/creams after drying yourself properly with a clean towel to avoid infections.
Keep yourself dry as far as possible because dampness triggers fungal infections.
Your home could harbour infectious germs in this season, owing to the damp conditions. Disinfect it regularly and have proper ventilation.
The food preparation areas and wet areas of the bathroom are particularly vulnerable to bacteria. Not cleaning your refrigerator regularly could also lead to infections. Use disinfectant cleaner to clean those areas.
Try not wearing synthetic clothes and opt for cotton clothes instead. Do not wear closed shoes.
HAIR AND SKIN CARE
Clean your skin three to four times a day. This will help in removing excess oil, dirt, and grime from the skin pores and allow it to breathe.
However, do not clean or bathe with steaming hot water as it will make the skin capillaries weak and cause skin damage.
Dr Maiya says, "Use non-alcoholic skin toners twice a day as this will help in maintaining the skin's pH balance. Toning also helps revive the skin and gives it a shine. Exfoliation helps in removing dead skin cells. A good skin scrub can get rid of those dead cells and help you look radiant and glowing."
Use a good moisturiser every time you wash up particularly if you have dry skin. You can also use rose water, glycerine, or almond oil before going to bed. This helps in keeping the skin supple and healthy.
If you have oily skin, use water-based moisturiser and cleansers. Apply sunscreen as it protects your skin from harmful UV rays.
She adds, "While it is all right to shampoo and condition your hair twice a week, frequent care is required in the rainy season. The humidity during the wet spell makes you sweat and so it's easy for grime and germs to latch on to the skin. Those with sensitive skin should avoid wearing too many accessories, particularly artificial jewellery. Humidity can cause the skin to break out and cause a rash."
Dr Sakshi Srivastava, consultant dermatologist, Jaypee Hospital, Noida, adds, "Prevent your hair from getting drenched in the rain, but if does happen shampoo your hair as soon as possible and then dry them. Use a conditioner after using a mild, gentle shampoo. This is also when your scalp gets itchy. Have a warm coconut oil massage and with switch it for neem oil if you have dandruff."
KEEP AN EYE ON YOUR EYES
It's critical to take proper care of your eyes during seasonal changes, by maintaining proper hygiene and getting regular checkups.
Dr Parul Sharma, senior eye surgeon, Max Super Speciality Hospital, Saket and Panchsheel Park, says, "Some of the most common eye conditions that plague people in the monsoon are acute conjunctivitis, where the outer membrane of the eyeball and inner eyelid are infected. Symptoms include redness of the white of the eye, irritation, discharge and watering."
Wash your hands with soap and don't touch your eyes with your fingers. Avoid swimming pools.