The rains are here and so are all the infectious agents. They all come out from their hideouts to victimize unsuspecting citizens who are just indulging in some good old fun in the monsoons by eating chaats and steaming hot coffees in the foggy wet weather. The season brings along with it a riot of diarrheas, respiratory tract infections and a host of viral infections. But the most lethal are the malarial infections. Simple measures can help keep them at bay so that you can enjoy the beauty of the greenery by being outdoors and not holed up inside. Here are some tips to stay healthy this monsoon.
We’ve put forth a few simple measures that you can follow to keep yourself and your loved ones healthy and away from the doctor.
Food and Drinks
Avoid eating outside food or if it’s a must, then try and keep it to a minimum.
Do not eat food which has been handled by bare hands. Make sure you wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water before handling or consuming food. Also ensure the fruit or vegetables that you are consuming are washed thoroughly and peeled when possible.
Make sure the food consumed does not include raw fruits or vegetables like salads, vegetable sandwiches, pani-puri, ice-creams, kulfis, etc. The food should have been well cooked and served hot. This reduces substantially the chance of acquiring diarrheas and various forms of gastroenteritis.
When eating out at weddings or celebrations try and take smaller quantities of each dish, so that just in case it is harboring any infection, the amount of germs entering your system will be lesser and the chance of getting a full-fledged gastroenteritis reduced.
Drink boiled or packaged drinking water. Avoid drinking water whose source is unreliable or unknown.
Avoid consuming open drinks like buttermilk, lassi, milkshakes, juices and sugarcane juice for fear of infection. Packaged drinks are preferable.
Avoid consuming very chilled drinks as they tend to reduce the body’s natural defences towards infection and increase the likelihood of contracting an infection.
Try and drink as much clean water and keep yourself well hydrated. Consume plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables after thoroughly washing them to keep the body’s immune system up.
Try and stay away from people with a known cough or sneezing. They might infect you too when they cough or sneeze and their mouth or nose are not covered adequately by a handkerchief. Try to cover your own mouth and nose when others in close proximity cough or sneeze. Follow the same when you are not well so that you don’t spread the infection to others.
Avoid wading through water as it might contain Leptospira germs that might have disastrous consequences. If you have waded through water due to unavoidable circumstances, make sure you clean your feet, toes, toe-nails thoroughly under running water with soap. Actually, this is a practice that should be followed daily during the monsoons as water logging is inadvertently a part of it. Make sure to dry them adequately thereafter.
Avoid getting drenched in rains. If drenched, avoid staying in air-conditioned rooms. Try to dry off as soon as possible and stay warm.
Try and wear full sleeve clothing which will prevent mosquito bites.
Bathe daily with soap and water to prevent skin infections.
Wash your hair at least 2-3 times a week rains tend to cause dandruff and stickiness.
Known diabetics should take a routine visit to the doctor during the monsoons due to their easy tendency to catch infections. Early detection helps early treatment and progression into a complication.
Avoid keeping plants in and around your house. Plants tend to attract mosquitoes which are agents for spreading malaria, filaria and dengue.
Make sure there is no unattended open waste in and around your surroundings, open bins or collected waste water as they all are excellent breeding grounds for mosquitoes. Get any leaky taps, damaged and rusted pipes repaired to prevent water collection any where.
Use mosquito repellant sprays, coils, nets in homes. They help in keeping mosquitoes away. Mosquito repellant creams are now available that should be applied when indoors as well outdoors esp. when on trekking trips etc.
Make sure there are no leaks in roofs or walls as moist walls tend to harbor fungus, moulds which might aggravate allergic asthmatics.
Last but not the least do not ignore any signs of ill health and discomfort like cold, cough, fever, diarrhea or any thing else away from normal. Immediately see a doctor regarding the same. It might be a simple flu which will subside in a week or it maybe an oncoming pneumonia, only the doctor knows.
So try and follow as much of the above tips to stay healthy as you can, as you soak in the showers without being worried of a visit to the hospital.
– Dr. Rachita Narsaria.