MON­SOON Mal­adies

India Today - - BODY TALK - By HUMRA AFROZ

The first few show­ers of the mon­soon are al­ways a wel­come change. Af­ter months of bat­tling the scorch­ing heat when the skies fi­nally open up, there seems very lit­tle to com­plain about. How­ever, as expected of all good things, this sea­son too has a murky un­der­belly. While one is usu­ally pre­pared, men­tally and phys­i­cally, for set­backs like wa­ter log­ging, traf­fic jams and power cuts, we of­ten tend to over­look the health haz­ards that come with the in­ces­sant rains. From com­mon colds to ty­phoid and dengue, these af­flic­tions can not only make the sea­son painful to en­dure, but also cause more se­ri­ous com­pli­ca­tions. Fol­low our sim­ple guide to good health and clean liv­ing to keep in­fec­tion at bay.

Com­mon Com­plaints

Ail­ment: Cold and cough

Causes The com­mon cold is a man­i­fes­ta­tion of a vi­ral in­fec­tion. While the mu­cous mem­branes of the nose and throat un­dergo in­flam­ma­tion as a re­sult of the in­fec­tion, they also be­come more vul­ner­a­ble to bac­te­rial at­tacks, lead­ing to more se­ri­ous in­fec­tions like si­nusi­tis, ear in­fec­tions and bron­chi­tis.

Symp­toms Wa­tery eyes, runny or blocked nose, sneez­ing and tick­ling cough. There could also be tem­po­rary loss of taste and smell, along with itch­ing and pain in the throat while eat­ing, drink­ing or even swal­low­ing.

Pre­cau­tions In­clude gar­lic, onions and Vi­ta­min C rich foods such as cit­rus fruits, guava, tomato and spinach in your diet to build im­mu­nity. Drink hot soups and herbal teas to re­lieve con­ges­tion, pre­vent de­hy­dra­tion and soothe the in­flammed mem­branes of your nose and throat. For a chest con­ges­tion, opt for steam in­hala­tion to nip the cold in the bud.

Ail­ment: Vi­ral fever

Causes Like most vi­ral in­fec­tions, this also spreads via in­hala­tion of aerosolised par­ti­cles, ei­ther on di­rect contact or by in­take of con­tam­i­nated wa­ter or food.

Symp­toms Ris­ing body tem­per­a­ture along with head and body ache. Once the virus en­ters the body, there is an in­cu­ba­tion pe­riod when it mul­ti­plies to in­ten­sify the in­fec­tion. This is fol­lowed by fa­tigue as the body and mus­cles ache, of­ten lead­ing to a high- grade fever. In­flam­ma­tion of the phar­ynx, a runny nose, nasal con­ges­tion, red­ness of eyes, cough and joint pain can ac­com­pany the fever.

Pre­cau­tions Cover up dur­ing this sea­son and avoid get­ting wet in the rains. Avoid bathing at night or when you sweat dur­ing the day. Also, use hot or luke­warm wa­ter to bathe. This will pre­vent you from catch­ing a chill. You must ex­er­cise cau­tion around those al­ready in­fected as a vi­ral fever is highly con­ta­gious.

Food Re­lated Dis­or­ders

Ail­ment: In­di­ges­tion

Causes Eat­ing high fi­bre, spicy or oily food, drink­ing car­bon­ated bev­er­ages or the in­take of too much caf­feine can lead to this ail­ment. In se­ri­ous cases, it can also be trig­gered by gas­tric prob­lems such as ul­cers, gas­tri­tis or gall blad­der stones.

Symp­toms Dis­com­fort in the ab­domen, un­easy feel­ing of full­ness, bloat­ing or swelling of the belly, nausea, re­flux ( when stomach acid rises the wrong way back up the food pipe), heart­burn, con­sti­pa­tion or a runny stomach.

Pre­cau­tions Chew your food prop­erly and avoid overeat­ing. Go easy on al­co­hol and cig­a­rettes in this sea­son. Call for im­me­di­ate med­i­cal help in case of sud­den se­vere ab­dom­i­nal pains or if you vomit blood.

Ail­ment: Food poi­son­ing

Causes Eat­ing con­tam­i­nated food, with tox­ins or bac­te­ria like E- coli, staphy­lo­cous or sal­monella can cause food poi­son­ing.

Symp­toms Nausea, vom­it­ing, ab­dom­i­nal pain, fever and chills, headache and weak­ness. The symp­toms gen­er­ally oc­cur two to six hours af­ter eat­ing the con­tam­i­nated food.

Pre­cau­tions Be care­ful of what you eat and avoid stale food. It is ad­vis­able to keep away from fried and oily foods, es­pe­cially from road­side stalls and hawk­ers in the mon­soons. Make sure all raw fruits and veg­eta­bles as well as cooked food is well pro­tected from flies and other pests at all times. Wash your hands prop­erly be­fore and af­ter cook­ing as well as eat­ing, and use only clean uten­sils to cook and serve food.

Wa­ter- borne Dis­eases

Ail­ment: Cholera

Causes Pests like flies, cock­roaches and mice spread cholera like wild fire.

Symp­toms Fre­quent pain­less rice- wa­ter like stools, se­vere vom­it­ing, dry wrin­kled skin, plum­met­ing blood pres­sure and urine out­put, faint pulse, in­tense thirst and stomach cramps.

Pre­cau­tions Drink only boiled or fil­tered wa­ter. Wash hands fre­quently, and also fruits and veg­eta­bles be­fore con­sump­tion. Pest proof your home.

Ail­ment: Dysen­tery

Causes The amoeba/ bacil­lus re­spon­si­ble for this ail­ment thrives in con­tam­i­nated food and wa­ter, and spreads through flies and cock­roaches.

Symp­toms Pass­ing foul smelling blood- stained mu- cous stools, run­ning a tem­per­a­ture, vom­it­ing, ten­der­ness or swelling in ab­domen.

Pre­cau­tions Be very care­ful of your drink­ing wa­ter as well as food. Eat semi- fluid and low roughage food. Take all mea­sures to keep your home pest free.

Ail­ment: Ty­phoid

Causes Be­sides other wa­ter- borne dis­eases like Hep­ati­tis A and jaundice, ty­phoid also spreads through flies and cock­roaches.

Symp­toms Split­ting headache and ris­ing fever ( al­though the pulse re­mains steady). There could also be shiv­er­ing and sweat­ing.

Pre­cau­tions Boil or fil­ter wa­ter be­fore use. Wash raw fruits and veg­eta­bles prop­erly be­fore con­sump­tion. En­sure peo­ple en­ter­ing the house on a daily ba­sis are not car­ri­ers of the dis­ease. For build­ing im­mu­nity, take oral or in­jectable vac­ci­na­tions.

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