Monsoons in India bring with them a certain kind of excitement and novelty – the fresh scent of the earth, childhood memories of splashing in puddles, vibrant greenery everywhere, and the tantalizing taste of pakodas, fresh out of the pan.
However, these joys are often interrupted by many germs and viruses which accompany the season, resulting in a host of deadly diseases or infections.
While most of these diseases can be prevented and cured by following a set of safe practices, a number of them necessitate proper medical attention, or they can turn fatal. Below are some of the most common ailments during the rainy season and what people need to know about these diseases, including their symptoms and steps to prevent them.
Dengue is a viral infection spread by the bite of a female Aedes Aegypti mosquito, which is responsible for spreading Zika, Yellow fever, and Chikungunya. This disease usually manifests as simple flu, but if left untreated, it can turn fatal. Serious cases of dengue can turn into dengue hemorrhagic fever or DHF.
The signs and symptoms of dengue fever are:
- Eye pain (typically behind the eyes)
- Muscle, joint, or bone pain
- Nausea and vomiting
- Unusual bleeding (nose or gum bleed, small red spots under the skin, or unusual bruising)
The best ways to prevent dengue are by using mosquito repellents, preferably EPA-registered ones. Sleeping in air-conditioned rooms also help as mosquitoes cannot survive in a cold environment.
The most frequent disease of the season, malaria is caused by a bite from the female Anopheles mosquito that breeds in small pools of stagnant water.
Common signs and symptoms of malaria include:
- High fever
- Body ache
- Body Chills
- Severe anaemia
Malaria can be prevented by using mosquito repellents. As these insects breed in stagnant water, it is also advisable to maintain a hygienic environment, free from the swampy situations.
Chikungunya is caused by the bite of an Aedes Aegypti mosquito but is rarely fatal. It shares a number of clinical symptoms with dengue, and as a result, has been known to be misdiagnosed in areas where dengue is general.
Common signs and symptoms of chikungunya are:
- High fever (40°C/ 104°F)
- Joint pain (lower back, ankle, knees, wrists, or phalanges)
- Joint swelling
- Muscle pain
As this disease is caused by the same species of mosquito that spreads dengue, the prevention for chikungunya is the same as for dengue -using mosquito repellents and nets, or sleeping in an air-conditioned room.
Caused by the S Typhi bacteria, this is a water-borne disease and can be contracted by the consumption of contaminated water or food.
Signs and symptoms of typhoid fever include:
- Prolonged high fever
- Abdominal pain
Typhoid is a contagious disease, and thus, in order to prevent it, one should keep their hands clean and maintain a clean hygienic environment. Other ways to avoid getting infected contain refraining from consuming street food, and by frequently drinking water and fresh healthy fluids.
Basically, stomach infections are caused by the consumption of unhygienic food or fluids. Gastroenteritis is a prevalent stomach infection that happens during this season.
Symptoms may include the following:
- Low-grade fever
- Nausea, vomiting, or both
- Abdominal cramps and pain
Stomach infections can be avoided by drinking boiled water and refraining from eating stale food or eatables left out in the open for a long time.