Monsoon in India is all about having a cup of hot tea with a plate of snacks (read more). The rainy season not only refreshes every living being after dealing with the scorching heat of summer, but unfortunately also brings diseases along with it. There are few common monsoon illnesses, some are easily treated, while a few can be life threatening. Some such serious infections are Malaria, Dengue, Chikungunya, Typhoid and Cholera.
Dengue, Chikungunya and Malaria
Dengue, Chikungunya and Malaria are dreaded mosquito-borne diseases, more common during the monsoons. Mosquito-borne diseases are caused by bacteria, viruses or parasites transmitted by mosquitoes.
Dengue is caused by four different virus types, DENV 1-4, and spread by the Aedes aegypti mosquito. Chikungunya can result in extreme pain, and the virus is spread by the Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus mosquitoes. Both the Aedes mosquitoes bite outdoors, but the Aedes aegypti can also bite indoors. These mosquitoes usually bite during the daytime. Malaria is also a vector-borne disease, and the malarial parasite is spread to humans by the female Anopheles mosquito. These mosquitoes are most active at night, and they feed both indoors and outdoors.
Tips to prevent Dengue, Chikungunya and Malaria
The best way of prevention is to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes and to control the breeding of mosquitoes. Here are a few easy and practical steps to avoid these diseases:
- Mosquitoes mostly breed in stagnant water, such as water in uncovered buckets and cans, construction dumpsters, vases, pots, garbage bins, old tyres and open drains. It is therefore vital to often check and remove stagnant water from the home or premises.
- The chances of a mosquito bite are considerably reduced if very little skin is exposed. Hence, it is recommended to wear body-covering clothes, like full sleeves shirts and long pants.
- Use mosquito repellents regularly to protect against mosquito bites.
- Use structural barriers for windows, such as window screens or netting, to block mosquitoes. Make sure that the window and door screens do not have any holes and block such areas.
- Avoid using heavily fragrant soaps and perfumes as they may attract mosquitoes.
Typhoid and Cholera
These two diseases are very common during the monsoon. Typhoid is an infection caused by the Salmonella typhi bacteria and Cholera is caused by the Vibrio cholerae bacteria. These bacteria spread between individuals by direct contact with the feces of an infected person, such as by eating or drinking feces-contaminated food or water.
Tips to prevent Typhoid and Cholera
Typhoid and Cholera are most likely to be found and spread in places with poor water treatment, poor sanitation, and inadequate hygiene. Here are some precautions to take to avoid these infections:
- Maintain good hygiene. Wash hands regularly and thoroughly, especially before eating or cooking food and after using the toilet. Use a hand sanitizer if water is not available.
- Safe water is a key factor to prevent Cholera and Typhoid. Drink bottled or boiled water.
- Eat foods that are thoroughly cooked and served hot, because the heat helps kill bacteria. Avoid raw foods.
- Avoid drinking or eating food sold by street vendors because it is hard to maintain cleanliness on the street.
Monsoon is a time for fun! Keep infectious diseases at bay.