Stay Fit This Monsoon!

The monsoons bring a relief from the scorching heat during the summers but they also bring along with them various diseases. Every monsoon season, the risk of catching various diseases is extremely high due to unhygienic conditions and not adhering to basic preventive measures. Many of these monsoon diseases remain undiagnosed until they progress to undesirable complications. This is why early diagnosis and treatment of diseases in rainy season is important making the difference between life and death. Here are some common diseases which are highly prevalent during this season that you should be aware about.  It is also advisable to understand the preventive measures of these diseases and precautions that you and your family can take as well.

Typhoid:

“Typhoid” is another waterborne bacterial infection caused by bacteria called Salmonella. This disease is caused by contaminated food or drinking food or water contaminated with the faeces of an infected person.  Diagnosis is made by any blood, bone marrow or stool cultures and with the Widal test.

Symptoms:

Typhoid signs and symptoms develop gradually, 1-3 weeks after exposure to the disease.

  • Prolonged high fever (103or 104 F), Weakness and fatigue
  • Severe abdomen pain
  • Headache, vomiting and rash
  • Sore throat
  • Diarrhea or constipation

The worst part is that the infection of this disease can remain in the gall bladder of the patient even after he/she is cured.

Preventive measures:

  • Use of clean, preferably boiled drinking water
  • Better sanitation practices and
  • Practise appropriate hand-washing techniques
  • Opt for cooked food
  • Treatments of typhoid include antibiotics such as azithromycin, fluoroquinolones or third generation cephalosporin only on prescription by the physician.

 

Hepatitis A:

Hepatitis A is a highly contagious liver infection caused by the hepatitis A virus. It is a waterborne viral infection is generally caused by contaminated drinking water or food with the stool of someone with the virus, it can spread through flies. Eating fruits, vegetables, or other foods that were contaminated during handling can cause spread of infection. The symptom of this disease is directly related to the inflammation of the liver that’s caused by a virus.

Symptoms:

  • Jaundice (yellow eyes and skin, dark urine)
  • Stomach pain, loss of appetite
  • Nausea, Fever
  • Diarrhoea and Fatigue.

Blood tests are used to detect the presence of hepatitis A in your body. No specific treatment exists for hepatitis A. In most cases of hepatitis A, the liver heals within six months with no lasting damage.

Management involves, Rest, treatment of nausea and rest to liver.

Preventive measures:

  • Use of clean, preferably boiled drinking water
  • Better sanitation practices and
  • Practise appropriate hand-washing techniques
  • Avoid eating raw food, opt for cooked food
  • Avoid outside food and water
  • Vaccines are available for people most at risk

 

Dengue:

Dengue fever is a disease caused by a family of viruses that are transmitted by mosquitoes. It is spread by what’s known as the tiger mosquito (Aedes Aegypti), which has black and white stripes and typically bites early in the morning or at dawn.

Symptoms:

  • Severe joint and muscle pain
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Headache, fever and rash
  • Exhaustion

Complication of dengue fever is called Dengue haemorrhagic fever (DHF). It is a specific syndrome that tends to affect children under 10 years of age. This complication of dengue causes abdominal pain, haemorrhage (bleeding), and circulatory collapse (shock).

There are no specific antibiotics or antiviral medication to treat it. For typical dengue, the treatment is concerned with relief of the symptoms and signs. Rest and fluid intake (oral rehydration) are important. Pain relievers such as aspirin and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs should only be taken under a doctor’s supervision because of the possibility of worsening bleeding complications. Pain killers can be given for headache and for joint and muscle pain (myalgia).

Platelet count should be monitored through the course of the illness.  Sometimes hospitalization for dengue maybe advised depending upon the patient’s condition and requirement to receive IV fluids for hydration.

Preventive measures

  • As it’s transmitted via mosquitoes, one should wear a strong insect repellent containing DEET to prevent getting bitten.
  • People should also wear full sleeve clothing when out in the day.
  • It is important to remember that the dengue mosquito usually bites only in the day time and breeds in clean, fresh water. So any water accumulation should be avoided.

Malaria:

One of the most common monsoon-related diseases, malaria, is caused by certain species of mosquitoes breeding in the dirty water. Since, there is a problem of water logging during the rainy season, mosquitoes get conducive conditions to breed .This disease is spread by Female Anopheles mosquito. Most deaths are caused by P. falciparum and is the most dangerous type of malaria also known as Cerebral malaria. Other forms of malaria are P. vivax, P. ovale, and P. malariae

Malaria is typically diagnosed by the microscopic examination of blood using blood films, or with antigen-based rapid diagnostic tests.

Symptoms:

  • Moderate to severe quivering
  • High fever, headache and body ache,
  • Chills and sweating
  • Feeling of disquiet & restlessness,
  • Nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea.

If untreated, it can lead to complications like jaundice, severe anaemia or even liver and kidney failure. Malaria is treated with antimalarial medications successfully.

Preventive measures –

  • Take an antimalarial drug as a precautionary measure in mosquito prone areas.
  • Also take measures to prevent mosquito bites such as wearing full sleeve clothing.
  • Application of mosquito repellant creams and Electronic mosquito repellent devices can be used during the monsoon season to avoid mosquito’s at home.
  • Accumulation of dirty water must be kept in check to prevent malaria mosquito breeding.
  • Insecticide-treated mosquito nets (ITNs) and indoor residual spraying (IRS) have been shown to be highly effective in preventing malaria in your neighbourhood and can reduce breeding of mosquitos also.

 

Viral fever:

Sudden weather change often causes viral fever.

Symptoms:

  • Fatigue, chills, body aches and fever.
  • General duration of a viral fever lasts from 3 to 7 days, with the severity of the fever being the highest in the first three days.

 

The illness is contagious and spreads through infection droplets in the air or by coming into physical contact with infected secretions. The general treatment  if side effects and symptoms using OTC drugs in consultation with their doctor, antihistamines, decongestants  and antipyretic drugs are usually recommended, Viral disease are generally self-limiting and generally do not need antibiotic unless there is a secondary infection.

Preventive measures:

  • One must ensure that they do not get wet in the rain or stay in wet clothes for a long period
  • Wash your hands often using appropriate technique
  • Boost your immunity by eating Vitamin C rich foods and green leafy vegetables. They must also keep a distance from an infected person.

 

Some general overall Preventive health tips during monsoon season for your wellbeing:

  • Drink only clean water as a preventive measure against water borne diseases like typhoid, jaundice, gastroenteritis and diarrhoea which are common due to contamination of drinking water source. It is a good idea to drink only boiled water or water cleaned by a purifier.
  • Use separate hand towels to avoid the transmission of disease causing bacteria.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a handkerchief while coughing or sneezing.
  • Use mosquito repellents and nets as dengue transmitting mosquitoes usually bite during day time -either early morning or late evening, while those that cause malaria tend to bite at night.
  • Keep your garments dry to avoid catching fungal skin infections.
  • Consume freshly prepared food and avoid eating out as much as possible.
  •  Avoid visiting crowded places such as theatres or exhibitions.
  • Use hand sanitizers regularly.

In case you are experiencing any of signs or symptoms and need treatment visit a doctor immediately.

 

 

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