Dr. Satish Kumar M G – Consultant Internal Medicine – Columbia Asia Hospital Mysore
The much-awaited monsoon season is here. Providing respite from the summer heat this season is most awaited. People love the monsoon season for the cooling touch it brings post the harsh summers. However, monsoon also brings along several diseases due to harmful viruses. The monsoon rains also carry with it some common diseases such as viral fevers, stomach infections, malaria, dengue, typhoid, among others.
During this time, the risk of getting various diseases is extremely high owing to unhygienic conditions and other factors. Many of these monsoon diseases remain undiagnosed until they progress to uninvited complications. Therefore, early diagnosis and treatment of diseases during rainy season is important. Here are some common diseases which are prevalent during this season that one should be aware about.
Water borne diseases see a hike during the monsoon seasons. The major source of this is exposure to dirty, contaminated water. Poor sanitation and the lack of a proper drainage system allow disease causing microbes to run abound, leaving people with poor immune systems more susceptible to infection. Another source of danger is food that is prepared unhygienically. Stomach infections and diarrhea are commonly seen during the monsoon season. Jaundice, or Hepatitis A is another water-borne disease spread through contaminated food and water which shows up with symptoms like appetite loss, fever, weight loss, tiredness, yellowish tinge to the skin and eyes and darkening of urine.
Typhoid cases show an increase during the monsoons. Caused by a bacterium known as S. Typhi, it is also transmitted through contaminated food and water. High fever, headache, sore throat, rashes, abdominal pain, diarrhea are some of the symptoms.
Viral infections with symptoms of fever are common illnesses seen during the monsoon season. One of the reasons why it is so easy to catch a viral infection is the increase in humidity, making it easier for sick people to transfer the virus to healthy people. Strengthening the immune system is key to avoid the viral during the monsoon.
Mosquito-borne diseases such as Malaria and Dengue also see a rise during the monsoon due to the collection of stagnant water that makes it easier for mosquitoes to breed. Symptoms of malaria include high fever with chills, headache, joint pains, nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, and restlessness. Symptoms of dengue are similar with fever and chills but there are certain differences. Dengue fever is usually accompanied by severe headache and bone pains. It can disappear soon but usually reappears with skin rashes. Lab tests help to confirm the diagnosis. Nowadays, cases of Chikungunya, another mosquito borne disease are also seen.
During the monsoon, one should take basic precautionary measures to prevent any infection. These include:
- Be extra cautious of food and water – avoid eating foods or drinking water that has a risk of being contaminated
- Be extra vigilant with water, drink only boiled water
- Before cooking, ensure hands are thoroughly cleaned, maintain good toilet hygiene, wash hands well before and after using the toilet.
- Use a mosquito repellent and wear full sleeved clothes while stepping out
- Wear proper footwear in the rains and wash the feet after walking in flooded areas
- Avoid visiting crowded places to reduce risk of viral infections
- Do not touch your nose and mouth with your hand without washing them
The hot, humid, and wet weather makes it favorable for the micro-organisms to reproduce and multiply. It also results in many respiratory tract diseases and skin infections. If you or a family member especially children and senior citizens suffer from any illness, do not take it lightly. Many symptoms can be misleading and need immediate medical attention. It is essential to seek timely and proper medical advice during the monsoon to avoid any delay in treatment leading to potentially fatal complications.