Monsoons are a welcome respite from the gruelling heat of the summers. It is a time when nature is at its best. Beautiful shades of green are seen everywhere around you, a cool and soothing chill fills the air and the smell of wet earth fill you up with delight.
However, the monsoons also bring along with it a whole bunch of infections and illnesses.
A host of respiratory as well as gastro-intestinal illnesses, food and water borne diseases, deadly mosquito-borne diseases such as malaria and dengue become rampant.
Here are some health tips to ensure you stay healthy and happy this monsoon:
Carry your rain gear wherever you go
It’s time to bring out your raincoats, umbrellas and your gumboots and carry them with you every time you step out of the house. Rains are usually unpredictable. A sunny day can turn in to a rainy one within minutes.
Keep a spare pair of clothes with you at all times in a rain-proof bag. During a heavy down pour, an umbrella and a raincoat don’t provide enough shelter. If you get wet, wipe yourself well with a dry towel. Staying in wet clothes/socks for long can bring on a cold or lead to fungal infections on your skin.
Wading through water puts you at risk of catching Leptospirosis. Avoid wading through floods. If there is no way out, use gum boots, walk along the centre of the road and watch out for open man-holes, electricity cables etc.
A cleansing shower after getting wet
I know it sounds weird to bathe even after you are all drenched, but a warm shower with a good anti-bacterial soap after getting wet in the rain helps to clean your body and remove any dirt or germs that are on your skin.
Healthy food habits to observe
The monsoon is undoubtedly the best season to indulge in hot, spicy fritters and tantalizing street food. And the rains somehow heighten your appetite for these tangy and spicy snacks available in roadside stalls! But don’t forget that monsoon is a season of several water-borne infections like typhoid, cholera and hepatitis. Avoid eating at unhygienic places as bacterial contamination of food and water is at its peak during this season. Drink only bottled water when out. Pre-cut fruits and prepared juices too are a strict no-no.
Simple food guide to follow when at home
Boring as it may sound; fruits are great at restoring your energy levels between meals. Opt for fruits, steamed sprouts and vegetable salads in between your meals for keeping your energy levels surging through the day.
Wash your hands with a good anti-bacterial soap before every meal. Thoroughly wash your daily greens, veggies and fruits with boiled water or diluted potassium permanganate. Adding a dash of lime, ginger, garlic and turmeric to all your dishes will give your immune system a boost, enhance healing and make your body resistant to the various infections in the air.
Hydration is essential. Drink plenty of water, fruit juices through the day because a well hydrated body helps keep diseases at bay and flushes out toxins from your body. However, make sure you only have boiled or bottled water.
Prevent diseases like malaria and dengue by staying away from mosquitoes with the help of mosquito repellents and disinfectants. Nip the mosquito menace in the bud by wiping out their breeding grounds. Don’t let any stagnant water collect anywhere in your house and garden; especially flower pots and water coolers. Because stagnant water is a great breeding ground for mosquitoes. Also, make sure your children don’t play near stagnant water or water filled puddles. Use neem and citronella oil scented candles and incense in your home to keep the mosquitoes out.
The humidity in the air during the monsoon season is known to put the asthmatics on tenterhooks as moist air is a well-known asthma trigger. Fungus thrives on damp surfaces and that is another reason why asthma is rampant in the monsoon season. Mould (or mold) a type of fungus, a known asthma trigger grows freely on damp surfaces.
That is why asthmatics should use a de-humidifier and avoid damp places/basements/cellars as far as possible, especially so during the monsoons.
If you follow these simple tips this season, you will be all set to brave the monsoons in a safe, healthy and happy way! Make sure you plan an outdoor picnic, trek or a hike this season. There is a completely different joy in being amidst Mother Nature during the monsoons. The freshness in the air, the sight of sparkling water falls and the magnificent lakes and mountains are truly invigorating!