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Jul 16, 2019
Jul
16
2019

Common Monsoon Illnesses

Malaria
  • It is a disease caused by a parasite that belongs to the plasmodium genus. A certain type of female mosquito called the Anopheles mosquito is a common carrier of this parasite
  • Of the four types of malaria, the most common are called falciparum and vivax
  • The most common symptoms are fever accompanied by shaking chills and body ache
  • Diagnosed by a blood smear or antigen test which look for abnormalities in the blood
  • Malaria can cause severe anaemia and  low platelets
  • Complicated malaria includes jaundice, renal failure, fits and coma which needs hospitalisation and intensive care monitoring
  • Treatment includes antimalarial drugs
  • Vivax malaria needs additional treatment for prevention of relapse
  • Those who travel to areas where malaria is common should take preventive measures like  prophylaxis along with antimalarial drugs to avoid malaria
  • The drugs might cause nausea and vomiting, which in turn may lead to dehydration, so drink plenty of fluids to prevent this
  • The spread of malaria can prevented by
    • getting rid of stagnant water since that is where mosquitoes breed
    • using bed screens or nets and mosquito repellents
    • wearing clothing that covers yourself completely to reduce mosquito bites
  • Those who are highly susceptible to getting malaria or getting bitten should avoid outdoor activities from dusk to dawn
  • Those who experience the symptoms of malaria should visit a doctor immediately as it can be harmful if not treated in time
  • Children, pregnant women, the elderly and those who have complications with the liver, kidney or brain should be extra careful if they get malaria and should stay in the hospital as they recover
Dengue Fever
  • It is a viral infection usually spread by the Aedes Aegypti mosquito which typically bites early in the morning or at dawn. In Asia, a species commonly called the tiger mosquito is becoming prevalent as a cause of dengue
  • These mosquitoes are also known to spread the Chikungunya virus
  • Dengue is most common in India after monsoon, but also occurs during the monsoon season
  • Common symptoms include fever, body aches, joint pain, and rash
  • Unfortunately, there aren’t any drugs available to prevent being affected by the virus
  • As it is transmitted by mosquitoes, the use of insect repellents containing a chemical called DEET may be useful
  • Avoid wearing perfume and aftershave, and wear light-coloured, loose clothing
  • It is diagnosed with a viral polymerase chain reaction (PCR) or antigen antibody test
  • Those who get dengue need hydration, rest and paracetamol for the control the fever
  • Hospitalisation may also be needed if symptoms include high fever, vomiting, complications like low platelets, bleeding and if the liver and brain are affected
  • There is no drug or food that has been proved to raise platelets and talking to a doctor is pertinent
Leptospirosis
  • This disease affects both animals and human beings and is caused by a bacteria called Leptospira
  • The disease is usually spread through the consumption of contaminated water or by wading in dirty water, usually during floods, with open wounds
  • Preliminary symptoms include high fever accompanied by chills, severe headache, muscle ache
  • As the disease intensifies, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain with diarrhoea and rashes may develop
  • Complications include liver failure, respiratory diseases, kidney damage and even meningitis
  • Avoid contact with stagnant rain water as it is likely to be contaminated by animal urine
  • Keep all wounds clean and covered to prevent infection
  • Avoid walking barefoot
  • Avoid swimming in possibly contaminated open water like lakes or the sea
  • Timely diagnosis can help in controlling the spread of the disease
  • Antibiotics like doxycycline or penicillin should be administered in the early stages of the disease
  • If severe symptoms are seen, IV antibiotics may also be required
  • It can lead to multi-organ failure and sometimes even death
  • Doxycycline is often used for the prevention of dengue during floods in consultation with a doctor
Hepatitis
  • It is an inflammation of the liver
  • Generally spread by faecal-oral route, meaning that faecal matter from an infected person passes to the mouth of another
  • Hepatitis A and E are the most common enterically transmitted viruses, i.e. through the intestines
  • Symptoms include high fever with headache, pain in joints and vomiting followed by yellow discolouration of skin and eyes and darkening of urine.
  • It also comes with a severe decrease in appetite and nausea
  • Ensuring your food is clean is vital to prevent getting hepatitis
  • You can also get a vaccine for hepatitis A
  • Complete bed rest and a high-calorie diet is compulsory for those who have hepatitis
  • Hepatitis E can be fatal during pregnancy
Typhoid
  • The disease is caused by bacteria called Salmonella typhi and is highly infectious
  • The bacteria are present in human faeces and a healthy person may fall prey to the disease by consuming contaminated food and water
  • When the virus is the excreted, flies act as carriers, contaminating food and water
  • Those who live in areas prone to contagious diseases, will be safe by getting a vaccination against typhoid
  • Once the diagnosis is confirmed by a blood examination, the doctor will prescribe antibiotics
  • If symptoms include high fever or complications like abdominal pain and bleeding in stools then hospitalisation and IV antibiotics are needed
  • After getting typhoid it is possible to relapse about two weeks after an apparent recovery if not treated properly
  • Those who get typhoid can become chronic typhoid carriers, so food handlers must be tested for it as they can transmit the infection to multiple people
Diarrhoea
  • It is caused by bacteria or viruses
  • Watery liquid stools, abdominal cramps, fever, dehydration are some of the symptoms
  • Washing hands often, cooking food thoroughly, and washing vegetables with clean water before cutting them are some of the preventive steps to avoid diarrhoea
  • Avoid unpasteurised milk, street food and uncovered food
Dysentery
  • It involves the inflammation of intestines
  • Some of the symptoms are bloody stools, fever, pain, and diarrhoea
  • Caused by a bacteria called Shigella, amoeba, or a parasite called Giardia
  • Ensuring proper personal hygiene by washing hands habitually and making sure food and water are clean can help prevent dysentery
Cholera
  • Cholera is a deadly disease that spreads excessively during the rainy season
  • It is caused by contaminated food and water
  • Poor hygienic conditions help the spread of this disease
  • It normally spreads in places with poor sanitation facilities
  • Severe diarrhoea with watery stools is the most common symptom
  • There could also be vomiting with immediate water loss and muscle cramps
  • Stool characteristically is large quantity watery similar to rice water leading to severe dehydration and electrolyte imbalance
  • Excessive fluid loss can even lead to kidney failure
Common cold and minor flu like illness
  • This happens because of  getting drenched in the rain
  • Constant sneezing, sore throat and fever are some of the symptoms
  • Home remedies can be tried first as it usually resolves on its own
  • If the symptoms persist for longer than two to three days a doctor should be consulted
  • To prevent getting a cold or flu, dry yourself completely if you are drenched in the rain, avoid AC
Conjunctivitis
  • Also called pink eye, it is the infection of the outside of the eyeball and inner eyelid
  • Red eyes, watering, sticky discharge from the eyes are seen in pink eye
  • It is highly infectious and spreads by sharing clothes and other common objects
  • Strict hygiene measures are to be followed as touching a contaminated surface is enough to get it

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