Mosquitoes, muddy water, and monsoon: How to keep your family healthy in the rains

The rains are beautiful but this is also the season when diseases and infections shoot up.
Mosquitoes, muddy water, and monsoon: How to keep your family healthy in the rains
Mosquitoes, muddy water, and monsoon: How to keep your family healthy in the rains
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The monsoons have set in full force in many parts of the country. And with the monsoon comes stagnant water, muddy puddles and the dreaded M – mosquitoes, the single largest cause of most deaths in any year through the diseases they spread.

From malaria to dengue, from chikungunya to Zika, the mosquito is most notorious in spreading diseases and fear across all classes of people. But that’s not the only threat. With the moist air comes more chances of other airborne diseases too. Sounds ominous? Don’t fret. Here are some tips to improve your family’s shot at staying clear of diseases and infections this monsoon.

Clean, clean and clean: This may be obvious but cleanliness is the single most important thing that will save you and your kids from infectious diseases this monsoon. A clean home (no mildew on walls or leaks in the ceiling), clean water (boiled for extra precaution), and clean floors (preferably scrubbed with a citronella-flavoured cleaning agent) can all go a long way in promoting your family’s health.

Mom to three, Pallavi Nair is a firm believer in promoting healthy habits. “I insist on washing hands and feet after coming back from outdoors, keeping shoes in an airy place to dry, etc. These are simple and easy ways to prevent contact with any allergens,” she says.

She also carries a can of hand sanitizer whenever she steps out of the house and applies anti-mosquito “patches” on her kids’ clothing every time they step out. “Oh, it’s also important to destroy any stagnated puddles around your house to avoid any possible breeding of mosquitoes,” she adds.

Dress to keep dry: Raincoats, umbrellas, and boots are your best friends. Keeping dry in pouring rain might be hard. But minimizing contact with stagnated water is possible with boots, rain coats, hats or umbrellas. Use good quality materials that dry quickly and wash frequently to disinfect.

Anisha Mukkula, mom of a 4-year old son who loves muddy puddles thanks to Peppa Pig, swears by Crocs boots for her kids to keep their feet dry. “The boots are not just cute, they’re amazingly effective in being waterproof. The kids love the look and feel of it and I’m a happy mommy as long as their feet stay dry,” she says.

Go easy on street eats: You may love your bonda and a samosa may sound so good in the rain with chai, but avoid eating in places where the food is exposed to open air. Air-borne diseases can easily find their way into your gut from infected food. Avoid buying pre-cut fruits and vegetables to prevent any germs being transmitted through insects sitting on them.

Says Murugappan of Sri Ganga Sweets, Adyar, “We use many precautions in our hotel, rainy season or not. The oil is replaced every single day. The produce is fresh and prepared on demand. We cover all food with netted lids to make sure there are no flies that sit on it. We have also installed mosquito-killing electric grates on the premises. Even though we have a street section, all our employees have to comply with hygienic practices including hand gloves and hair caps.”

Make sure that any premises in which you eat are hygienic. Wash any produce you buy from street vendors multiple times under clean running water. If required, soak for 20 minutes before using them. Discard peels when not required.  It’s best to eat in hygienic places till the monsoon relents.

Up the ante: Immunity has always been related to Vitamin C. And this is no myth. Says Dr. Praveen Parasuraman, a paediatrician from Hyderabad, “Giving kids a Vitamin C supplement is definitely recommended, especially in the rainy season to improve their immunity. It helps fight colds and other common viral infections.”

He recommends giving kids the supplement right after breakfast for maximum impact.

As parents fear, mosquito-related diseases do peak during monsoon. “Yes, we do see a spike in mosquito-spread diseases in the monsoon. They’re usually air-borne and run the gamut friom chikungunya to dengue. Malaria is a bit rare, but not unseen. The best way to avoid these is to avoid contact with mosquitoes. While that’s not 100% possible, I definitely recommend corporal creams like Odomos at bedtime, in addition to keeping premises clean and dry. Oh and when all fails, there’s always the electric bat, with the added bonus of kids loving to do the deed,” he laughs. 

While falling sick is no laughing matter, with adequate precautions, you and your family can enjoy the rains to the fullest.

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