ONSET OF MONSOON AND DISEASE OUTBREAKS

By: Dr. Brahmananda Nayak

All about Caution and Preventive Care 

The dawn of June is also the indication of the arrival of Monsoon in India which indeed is much awaited. It is very important to exercise caution as much as wanting to cherish the first rain of the season. It happens every year and there are many lessons to be learned from each outbreak of disease with a potential of creating an epidemic scare. The relationship between monsoon seasons and disease outbreak has a lot to do with stagnant water. It’s the primary cause which also serves as the breeding ground for all sorts of mosquitoes. Mosquitoes on the other hand are the primary carriers of the microbes, infections and contamination. Therefore, caution during monsoon season would be predominately about eliminating stagnant water along with preventing the growth of mosquito population. This can be highlighted from the perspective of various dreadful diseases, their causative reasons and the measures of prevention.

Mosquito Bite Related Diseases 

  1. Malaria – Carried by female Anopheles mosquito, Malaria is responsible for thousands of deaths during every monsoon season. These mosquitoes are the evening and early morning biters, causing fever with severe chills. Coughing, sweating and cold are among the symptoms. This can also be associated diarrhea and jaundice. 
  1. Dengue – Considered to be the most dreadful monsoon disease, Dengue is carried by Aedes mosquito. These are day time biters causing high and severe fever. This disease can be assessed by the symptoms including body rashes combined with severe muscle and joint pains, loss of appetite, bleeding gums and pain behind the eyes.        

Precautions – 

Protecting self from mosquito bite is the primary objective which can be achieved by various measures. They include using mosquito repellents, wearing full sleeve shirts, using insecticide-treated mosquito nets and keeping the nearby ponds or water bodies clean. Cultivating Gambusia fish in the water bodies is known to be effective in preventing the growth of mosquitoes.              

Water-Borne Diseases       

  1. Cholera – Easily spread through contaminated food and water, mainly through human faeces, Cholera spreads very fast in poorly sanitized areas. Though it can be cured easily, negligence can prove to be fatal. It is also associated with severe diarrhea with effortless vomiting, dehydration leading to weight loss and muscle cramps along with low blood pressure.          
  1. Typhoid Fever – Water contaminated by the bacteria Salmonella typhi is the cause for Typhoid which is manifested through high fever associated with diarrhea, poor appetite, abdominal pain, lethargy and headaches. The causative bacteria can survive in water and dry sewage for weeks together. 
  1. Hepatitis A – It’s an acute infectious disease affecting the liver, caused by ‘Hepatitis A’ virus. It spreads through water contamination and food apart from close personal contact with an infected person. It can be identified with jaundice, dark amber colored urine, clay colored faeces, loss of appetite apart from fatigue and nausea. 

Precautions –    

Ensuring high standards of personal hygiene and avoiding the consumption of contaminated food or water would be the primary precautionary measures. Additionally, it is important to always store the food and water in closed containers, protecting from flies and insects.                  

Infectious Diseases

  • Viral and fungal infections are the common causatives of infectious diseases such as viral fever, eye and skin infections. While viral infections are known to cause fevers and eye infections, fungal activity spreads skin infections. 
  • Fevers are associated with fatigue, body ache, running nose and sore throat. Eye infections can be identified through swollen eyelids, itching, discharge from eyes and blood clots around the cornea. 
  • Skin infections would lead to peeling, cracking and scaling of the skin. 

Hygienic diet, adequate intake of fluids, avoiding contact with affected people  are some of the precautionary measures to combat infectious diseases.     

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