Cop­ing with mon­soon dis­eases

Mother & Baby - - BUMP TO BIRTH -


Typhoid is a com­mon mon­soon dis­ease that spreads through con­tam­i­nated food and wa­ter. The symp­toms of the dis­ease usu­ally in­clude high fever, headache, ab­dom­i­nal pain and ei­ther con­sti­pa­tion or di­ar­rhoea. Preg­nant women are more likely to have a cough as one of the symp­toms. Typhoid is usu­ally treated with an­tibi­otics but there are vac­cines against this dis­ease. If not treated promptly, typhoid in­fec­tion can cross the pla­centa and lead to in­fec­tion and in­crease the risk of a pre­ma­ture birth or a low birth­weight baby.


Water­borne dis­eases are very com­mon dur­ing mon­soon so make sure that you drink boiled wa­ter at all times. You may use a wa­ter pu­ri­fier at home but dur­ing the mon­soon, it can be a safer bet to boil the wa­ter be­fore drink­ing it.


Gas­troen­teri­tis, com­monly known as the stom­ach flu, is an in­testi­nal in­fec­tion that causes di­ar­rhoea, ab­dom­i­nal cramps, nau­sea, and fever. Stom­ach flu is ex­tremely com­mon in the mon­soon as it is caused by in­gest­ing con­tam­i­nated food or wa­ter. It is con­ta­gious and spreads through con­tact with an in­fected per­son. Most symp­toms of gas­troen­teri­tis pass within a week and can be man­aged at home but you should still let your gy­nae­col­o­gist know that you’re un­der the weather. Your health­care provider can dis­cuss with you whether an­tidiar­rhoeal or anti-nau­sea med­i­ca­tions would be help­ful. You must be alarmed if the com­pli­ca­tions last for over a week and if the symp­toms are se­vere. Re­mem­ber, you can go into preterm labour if you are se­verely de­hy­drated or spike a high, last­ing fever.

PRE­VEN­TION: In this case, pre­ven­tion should be given as much im­por­tance as the cure. Per­haps not sur­pris­ingly, many preg­nant women con­tract gas­troen­teri­tis from their older chil­dren at home. To re­duce your risk of in­fec­tion, wash your hands of­ten at work and wash your chil­dren’s hands reg­u­larly. Also, when you’re out, try to avoid touch­ing your eyes or mouth – these are two of the body’s most com­mon gate­ways for in­fec­tion.


Malaria sees a sharp rise dur­ing the rainy sea­son due to the in­crease in the num­ber of mos­qui­toes. Preg­nancy weak­ens your im­mune sys­tem which makes you sus­cep­ti­ble to the in­fec­tious dis­ease. Fever, chills and vom­it­ing are some of the symp­toms of the dis­ease at the ear­li­est stage. Malaria needs im­me­di­ate at­ten­tion and you should not wait to get help till the dis­ease has ad­vanced to later stages. Once the plas­mod­ium

fal­ci­parum par­a­site in­fects the blood, it re­sults in the rup­ture of red blood cells, cre­at­ing in­creased de­mand for blood sup­ply. This leads to anaemia, which might, in turn, re­sult in post­par­tum haem­or­rhage and ma­ter­nal and neona­tal mor­tal­ity. As the cor­ti­sol level in­creases dur­ing preg­nancy, the resistance to malaria par­a­site de­creases, thereby lead­ing to com­pli­ca­tions such as hy­po­gly­caemia, cere­bral malaria, and pul­monary oedema.


Use in­sec­ti­cide-treated bed nets (ITN) to re­pel malaria-caus­ing mos­qui­toes. Also, wear light couloured clothes as mos­qui­toes are gen­er­ally at­tracted to dark colours. Al­ways try to stay in cool or air-con­di­tioned ar­eas where mos­qui­toes can­not flour­ish.


Lep­tospiro­sis is an in­fec­tious dis­ease that in­creases in num­bers right af­ter rain­fall and flood­ing. It is caused when you come in con­tact with the bac­te­ria in an­i­mal urine that breeds in stag­nant wa­ters on the roads. When you wade through these wa­ters with even a mi­nor abra­sion in your skin, you have a high risk of con­tract­ing the dis­ease. The ma­jor­ity of lep­tospi­ral in­fec­tions are ei­ther sub­clin­i­cal or re­sult in very mild ill­ness, and pa­tients re­cover with­out com­pli­ca­tions. In a few cases, how­ever, it may man­i­fest as mul­ti­or­gan fail­ure where the mor­tal­ity can go up to 40 per cent. Ac­cord­ing to a study pub­lished in the Euro­pean Jour­nal of Clin­i­cal Mi­cro­bi­ol­ogy and In­fec­tious Dis­eases, in­fec­tion in preg­nant women may be grave, lead­ing to se­vere foetal and ma­ter­nal mor­bid­ity and mor­tal­ity. The symp­toms may mimic other bac­te­rial and par­a­sitic in­fec­tions such as acute fatty liver and preg­nan­cyin­duced hy­per­ten­sion.


Avoid stepping in pud­dles. They not only con­tain rain­wa­ter but also runoff from sewage. Wear pro­tec­tive footwear and cloth­ing and cover any cuts if you must step out in the rain.

Pre-eclamp­sia and eclamp­sia

Changes sur­round­ing the mon­soon sea­son have been stud­ied for risk of preg­nancy com­pli­ca­tions such as pre-eclamp­sia and eclamp­sia. A study pub­lished in the BMC Women’s Health Jour­nal showed that while the in­ci­dence of preeclamp­sia or high blood pres­sure that de­vel­ops dur­ing preg­nancy didn’t change be­tween mon­soon sea­son and the dry sea­son, the risk of eclamp­sia (the devel­op­ment of seizures) was sig­nif­i­cantly higher dur­ing the mon­soon sea­son. If com­pli­ca­tions oc­cur, you may have a med­i­cal emer­gency such as pla­cen­tal abrup­tion.


Pay at­ten­tion to your diet and en­sure that you get enough cal­cium. Also, take enough rest and go for foetal mon­i­tor­ing and check-ups more of­ten.

Your per­sonal hy­giene is of ut­most im­por­tance dur­ing the mon­soons. Bathe at least twice a day and keep a wet tis­sue handy so you can use it when­ever you want to wipe the grime away. More­over, en­sure to wash your feet and hands with warm wa­ter and a dis­in­fec­tant soap, to keep them shielded against in­fec­tions and other skin prob­lems. Re­mem­ber, this is the one time in your life where you just can­not af­ford to let go and be care­less about your health and hy­giene.

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