Common Monsoon Diseases: Precautions to take

Common Monsoon Diseases: Precautions to take

Expert's View Healthcare

The rainy season certainly brings respite from the sweltering heat, but this season is infamous for attacking our immunity and making us prone to various infections. During this season, the climate becomes warm and humid, providing an ideal environment for the growth and multiplication of various microorganisms. 

Additionally, the heavy rainfall leads to the accumulation of stagnant water, creating breeding grounds for mosquitoes, flies, and other diseases. The most common diseases during the rainy season are transmitted through 4 major mediums: mosquitoes, air, contaminated water and food.

Dr. Sonal Mhatre, BHMS with 17 years of Clinical experience, shares important information on monsoon diseases and precautions that we must take to avoid falling sick during monsoon.

 1. Mosquito-borne diseases

Monsoons are the breeding season for mosquitoes and mosquito-borne diseases. Below are a few mosquito-borne diseases that can occur during monsoon. 

Malaria starts with the bite of Anopheles mosquitoes. Symptoms may include; high fever, body aches, body chills, and sweating.  

Dengue is transmitted by female mosquitoes, especially of the species Aedes aegypti. Dengue can be suspected when a high fever, i.e., a fever above 40°C/104°F, is accompanied by two or more symptoms like; nausea, vomiting, swollen glands, severe headache, muscle and joint pains, rashes, and pain behind the eyes.

ChikungunyaIt is another mosquito-borne disease. It is a viral disease transmitted by infected mosquitoes to humans and is caused by the chikungunya virus. These mosquitoes breed in stagnant water. These mosquitoes bite primarily during the daytime. Symptoms usually occur 4-8 days later and include fever and joint pain. 

Preventive Measures from Mosquito-borne Diseases during Monsoon  

Malaria, Dengue, and Chikungunya have similar symptoms at initial stages, like high fever, fatigue, and body aches. If you experience any of these symptoms, consult a doctor immediately. However, you can also follow these preventive measures as monsoons begin:

  • Maintain basic hygiene and wash your bathrooms regularly.

  • Do not allow water to stagnate or collect anywhere in and around the house.

  • Use mosquito nets in your house.

  • Ensure you use mosquito repellents/creams before stepping out of the house.

  • Dispose of solid waste properly. All the bins should be covered.

  • Domestic containers used for storing water should be cleaned weekly.

  1. Water-borne Diseases

Water-borne diseases are illnesses caused by consumption of contaminated drinking water. When the drinking water is contaminated by human or animal feces containing pathogenic microorganisms, its consumption may cause some water-borne diseases like:

Typhoid is a life-threatening infection caused by Salmonella Typhi. Some symptoms of typhoid may include; prolonged fever, fatigue, diarrhea, headache, nausea, abdominal pain, and constipation. 

Cholera is caused by consuming water or food contaminated with a bacterium termed Vibrio cholerae. The cholera bacterium is usually found in water or foods contaminated by the feces (poop) of cholera infected person. It is likely to occur and spread in places with poor sanitation, inadequate water treatment, and inadequate hygiene. Cholera infection initially is mild or without symptoms but later on, becomes severe. Some common symptoms of cholera are; vomiting, watery diarrhea, and leg cramps. If it is not treated timely, it may cause the death of the infected person.

Jaundice, a water-borne disease, is caused by poor sanitation and contaminated food and water. It affects the liver and causes liver dysfunction. Some common symptoms of jaundice are weakness, fatigue, yellow urine, yellowing of eyes, and vomiting. 

Gastrointestinal infections, like vomiting, diarrhea, and gastroenteritis, are caused due to the consumption of stale, uncovered, or contaminated food and water.

Leptospirosis is a bacterial infection caused when the existing cuts or bruises are exposed to muddy and contaminated rainwater. Leptospirosis can affect both humans and animals. It is caused by the bacteria Genus Leptospira, and this bacteria spread through the urine of infected animals, which gets mixed with water. The infection may cause a high fever. Leptospirosis can cause inflammation of the membrane around the brain and spinal cord (meningitis). Left untreated, it may progress to serious health conditions such as liver and kidney damage.  

Preventive measures from Water-borne Diseases during monsoon 

  • Always drink boiled water and wash fruits and vegetables thoroughly before consumption.

  • Avoid coming in contact with potentially infected animals.

  • Potholes and drains should be covered, especially during the rainy season.

  • Ensure personal and environmental hygiene is always maintained.

  • Do not swim in a water body that might be contaminated with animal urine. 

  1. Airborne Diseases

Monsoon also brings with it severe airborne infections that are caused by tiny pathogens (disease-causing viruses). These pathogens present in the air may cause cold, cough, common flu, viral fever, and sore throat.

Sudden temperature fluctuations during the monsoon can cause common cold and flu-like viral infections. Influenza is commonly known as the seasonal “flu” and is caused by influenza viruses that infect the nose, throat, and sometimes the lungs. It spreads easily from person to person through the air. Flu usually occurs suddenly, and one can experience some or all these symptoms: 

  • Fever or feeling feverish/chills

  • Cough

  • Sore throat

  • Runny or stuffy nose

  • Muscle or body aches

  • Headaches

  • Fatigue

  • Vomiting and diarrhea.

 Preventive Measures from Airborne Diseases during Monsoon

 Airborne diseases are most easily transmitted from person to person.

  • Children must be vaccinated for flu if they are not.

  • Basic etiquettes are to be followed while coughing or sneezing.

  • Drinking warm water every few hours can be helpful.

  • Children should stay away from people who are already infected. Ensure that children wash their hands and feet thoroughly once home from outdoors.

  • Ensure your home is always well-ventilated.

  • Avoid close contact with individuals with flu-like symptoms, cough, or cold during the monsoon season to reduce the risk of getting infected.

  • Take extra care with personal items. During the monsoon season, personal items like towels, clothes, and bedsheets tend to stay damp for longer; ensure that these items are completely dry before use to prevent the growth of bacteria or fungi.

 The bottom line:

During monsoon, we must be extra cautious about the food we eat and the water we consume. Basic hygiene is important. Avoid street food and drinking non-purified water. Keep yourself well hydrated, and eat home-cooked fresh food. Consult a doctor in case of soar through, cold, or fever.