FEATURE 25 June 2013

Monsoon - Rain and Diseases

Monsoon brings with it welcome relief from the heat, and leaves behind a host of illnesses and diseases, some of which can be life threatening. Children are the most susceptible to these diseases. Here's how to keep yourself and your family safe this monsoon season.

Mosquitoes abound during the monsoon season, and cases of Malaria and Dengue are on the upswing. Although various malaria-prevention drugs are available, these are not always effective. Plus, in many places malaria parasites have grown resistant to the drugs.

Your best bet would be to keep your home mosquito-free. A mosquito net around the bed not only looks lovely and Victorian, but also keeps mosquitoes away and is a better option than sleeping with a mosquito coil right next to you.

Regular inhalation of chemicals found in mosquito coils and mats is not too good for you, but is definitely a better option than getting bitten by a mosquito and risking Malaria or Dengue. Don't take these diseases lightly.

Carry a mosquito repellent cream with you and give a small tube to your children. The cream should be applied to any exposed areas if there are mosquitoes around. Sewage and drain pipes lie close to each other, and in the monsoon these pipes develop leaks - with the result that the sewage water comes into contact with regular water. It sounds sickening, but is a fact. Many diseases like cholera are spread through feces, which is why it is essential to drink boiled water in the monsoon. Similarly, at a restaurant make it a point to drink bottled water or a soft drink instead of regular water. Most restaurants here don't maintain the levels of hygiene you do at home.

Walking in dirty water can also lead to numerous diseases since it brings your feet into direct contact with sewage water. Thus it is essential that your children dress appropriately in the monsoon to avoid catching not just diseases, but also the common cold. Make sure your children wear gumboots in the monsoon season so that their feet remain dry and clean. They should also wear a raincoat with a hood, and carry an umbrella.

Kids enjoy playing out in the rain, and this enjoyment need not be denied to them. If they must play in the rain, make sure that they play in a designated area and not on the road, amongst open sewers. They can play in a garden, and change their clothes immediately on returning home. Keep them warm when they return, don't let them sit in an air-conditioned room until their hair has dried, and feed them warm soup. That should take care of any likelihood of developing the flu.

Other quick tips
  • Always wash your hands after using the toilet and before eating, and make it a habit not to touch your face with your hands.

  • Prevent your children from biting their nails as this will cause them to ingest any infection that may be on their hands.

  • Don't eat uncooked food like salads outside the home during the monsoon.

  • Storing water in copper or silver vessels is not just a fashion statement! Doing so kills all germs and sterilizes the water.



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