Every year, we welcome monsoons with utmost delight. Monsoons bring a much needed relief from the scorching summer heat. Monsoons give a sudden flip to extreme temperatures, replenish the water reservoirs and ground water levels, bring delight to the areas suffering from water scarcity and plays an important role in the GDP for our country being primarily agriculture dependent. Because of this, monsoon season in India is very much awaited across all states.
However, rains also bring woes in the form of floods and various diseases. This year when we are grappling with COVID19 pandemic, our worries are more profound as rains may drain our already over-burdened health-care system. During rains we have a sudden surge in plethora of diseases, be it seasonal flu, water borne or vector-borne and they do have many overlapping symptoms.
There is going to be huge diagnostic dilemma by physicians, even for mild illnesses like simple seasonal flu or viral fever where we may need to subject those patients to COVID19 screening, as the spectrum of Covid19 associated illness is very varied, from asymptomatic to life threatening complications.
Incidence of vector borne diseases like dengue fever, malaria and chikungunya rises exponentially during monsoon, all these diseases are associated with high grade fever, myalgias, headaches, joint pains necessitating to rule out Covid19 illness. On the top of that if there is co-infection with these pathogens and Covid19, outcome could have serious implications. Take example of Dengue where pateint may be in shock and if the patient lands up in respiratory failure because of Covid19, combination of could be disastrous in the individual suffering from it.
Food and water borne diseases like gastroenteritis, cholera, typhoid, hepatitis increase during this season as humid and wet environment with ideal temperature provides optimal conditions for micro-organisms to grow and multiply. These diseases will certainly have an impact on the ongoing Covid19 pandemic in an adverse way, increasing both the morbidity and mortality.
Whatever are the circumstances, we must prepare and guard ourselves from the imminent multi-pronged attack at the individual level as well as helping the authorities in overcoming adversaries. We are currently battling with coronavirus and have done well also but we cannot ignore our fight with dengue, malaria and other infectious diseases and this fight is no way smaller.
Precautions for the rainy season diseases albeit difficult but are practical and all of us must contribute towards them. Maintaining proper hygiene and sanitation and using clean water will ward us from most of these illnesses. For mosquito borne diseases their breeding is to be prevented by keeping clogged areas clean and preventing ourselves from mosquito bites by using repellents and covering ourselves.
More than any other time, these times demand to keep ourselves healthy by strengthening our immunity by means of nutritious diet, healthy sleeping habits and regular exercise.
Monsoons are the perfect time for the senior citizen to sit back, spend time with your loved ones and relax at home. During this season, the digestive capacity of elders are said to be at the lowest point.
So, it’s important to avoid street junk foods and should include fruits, vegetables and any fibre rich diet. Fruits such as apples, bananas, pears can improve digestion.
In addition to healthy diet senior citizens need to take extra care while walking on wet surfaces like balcony, terrace, porch, garden etc. It is recommended that you use walking support aid to be on safer side. You could also consider patching these surfaces with anti-slip rubber mats to avoid accidents.
– Dr Manoj Sharma, Senior Consultant Medicine and Incharge, Medeor Hospital, Qutab Institutional Area, New Delhi