Prevention and care of common diseases during the monsoon

Several states are witnessing a spike in cases, which are linked to the start of the monsoon season.
Prevention and care of common diseases during the monsoon
Prevention and care of common diseases during the monsoon

With the monsoon season approaching, increased cases of vector-borne diseases are being reported. In Telangana alone, government hospitals are reportedly seeing as many as 1500 people with complaints suggestive of a viral fever or other vector-borne diseases, each day. As the rains of the monsoons make fall, several diseases will see a comeback. What are some of the most common diseases which are expected to be seen this season and what precautionary measures can you take to keep yourself safe

Mosquito borne diseases: Dengue, Malaria, and Chikungunya 

Dengue fever, also called as ‘break bone’ fever, is one of the most commonly seen vector borne diseases, with a particular spike in the cases noted during the monsoon season. In Karnataka’s capital city of Bengaluru alone over 3000 cases were reported as of July.

This mosquito-borne disease is caused by one of five strains of the dengue virus. The aedes aegypti mosquito is the carrier of the virus, which spreads to humans via mosquito bites. It takes anywhere between three days to two weeks of being exposed to the virus for the symptoms to set in. The most commonly seen symptoms of dengue are fever, joint pain, headaches and general muscle pain.

Malaria, on the other hand is caused by malarial parasites spread by the anopheles mosquito. The parasites can be of one of three types: Plasmodium vivax, Plasmodium ovale, or Plasmodium falciparum. Malaria caused by either falciparum or vivax parasites are the most commonly seen types. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), over 60 percent of the malaria seen in Southeast Asia are of the falciparum type. Roughly 180 million cases of malaria, with 90 million being of the falciparum type, have been noted in India by the National Vector Borne Disease Control Program.

This illness causes fever along with chills. Symptoms are usually seen 10 to 15 days after being bitten by an infected mosquito. While antimalarial medications are given to treat those presenting with the disease, several accounts of resistance to these drugs are now being reported.

Chikungunya is also a vector-borne disease which causes fever, headache, and severe joint pain. It is a viral disease which is transmitted to humans via the bite of an infected mosquito. The symptoms are generally self-limited and it does not require active intervention to treat the infection. Supportive measures such as medication to reduce the fever and joint pain, often suffice. According to the WHO, if someone recovers from the infection, they will be immune to the disease life long.

“Basic hygiene and maintenance needs to be practiced in order to curb the spread of the disease. Most important is that people do not leave out stagnant water. This is one of the greatest worries, because the stagnant water provides the ideal environment for mosquitoes to breed. By ensuring that all buckets and vessels are empty and keeping the areas prone to water collection clean,” said one health official from Bengaluru.

Stomach bugs: Gastroenteritis and Typhoid

These three diseases are not specific to the monsoon season alone, however there is an increase seen in these disease during the season.

Gastroenteritis refers to any infection (bacterial, viral or other) which may result in an infection of the stomach and digestive system. People may present with stomach pain, loose stools, nausea and vomiting.

During the monsoon season, a higher chance of developing gastroenteritis occurs as a result of contamination of water and food, according to the health official.

Typhoid is caused by the bacteria Salmonella typhi and results in high fever and gastrointestinal ailments. If left untreated, it can lead to death in some cases. A fever and rashes are the classic signs of typhoid. It can also cause abdominal pain and diarrhea. Hand washing before eating, after using the washroom, and ensuring that all food is properly washed can help prevent typhoid.

Doctors advise that practising good hygiene practices helps prevent stomach bugs. Food should be prepared well and all vegetables and fruits should be washed thoroughly.  

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