While the monsoon will always be celebrated for the relief it brings from the scorching summer heat and humidity, there is an uglier side of the season – the outbreak of several vector-borne diseases that accompany it. Dengue, chikungunya, and malaria are just to name a few. They might be caused due to several reasons which include lack of sanitation, unhygienic conditions and mosquito bites. If not treated properly, they might also be fatal.
Come monsoon and you will read about people contracting dengue in your city almost every other day. Dengue is a vector-borne disease that is extremely common in India. It is transmitted by the female insect of the mosquito species Aedes Aegypti. This vector-borne viral infection is common in tropical and subtropical regions of the world. According to the World Health Organisation, around half the world’s population is at risk of contracting this disease. Every year, around 400 million dengue cases are reported across the globe, says WHO. Common symptoms of dengue are nausea, fever, rashes, and aches. To avoid falling prey to disease, you should ensure that your surroundings are clean. Make sure that there is no stagnant water in buckets, coolers, and garbage as they serve as a breeding ground for mosquitoes. You should also shield yourself from insect bites by using mosquito nets and mosquito repellents.
During the monsoon season, most of us are prone to seasonal allergies which include the common cold. The most noticeable symptoms of the common cold are sneezing, cough, fever, headache, muscle pain, sore throat, and exhaustion. That being said, these symptoms are common to several other fatal diseases like swine flu and dengue. Therefore, one should consult a doctor if these symptoms persist despite medication. Common cold during monsoon can be caused due to a seasonal allergy or due to carelessness like drinking cold water and something chilled like an ice-cream or even getting drenched in the rain. Once monsoon sets in, it would be beneficial for you if you start being cautious about your health. For starters, you should not consume too much cold water and have herbal concoctions infused with ginger and honey. Avoid sleeping at AC high temperatures and keep your house clean.
The first chikungunya case can be traced back to southern Tanzania in 1952. A person can contract chikungunya if he/she is bitten by an infected mosquito. The vector for this disease is an RNA virus that belongs to an alphavirus specie. The genus is from the family Togaviridae. The virus is contagious and is transmitted to humans by two kinds of insect species Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus. One of the most common symptoms of chikungunya is an abrupt fever which is often accompanied by joint pain. There is no vaccine available to treat chikungunya. In order to protect yourself from chikungunya during monsoon, it is advisable that you sanitize your house and the areas around it. Also, ensure that there are no garbage piles rotting or uncovered drains in your locality. Wearing clothing that minimizes exposure of skin to vectors is also a good precaution.
Malaria is a malaise which claims a number of lives every year in India. WHO estimates states that over 228 million cases of malaria were recorded across the globe in 2018. The number of casualties due to this vector-borne disease stood at 4,05,000 across the world in 2018. India accounts for over 77% of the total number of malaria cases in Southeast Asia reported from India. The disease is spread by the plasmodium parasite. The parasite is spread to humans through the bite of an infected Anopheles mosquito. The common symptoms of malaria include high fever, chills, nausea, cold and headache. One of the easiest ways in which you can keep malaria at bay during monsoons is by using mosquito nets and repellents to shield yourself from insect bites. Also, take care to ensure that your surroundings are clean and there are no overflowing trash cans as they serve as breeding grounds for mosquitoes.
Athlete’s Foot and other skin diseases:
This is a very common occurrence during the monsoon season. It is a fungal infection which occurs between your toes and hence can cause itching and rashes. It can be treated with fungal creams and sprays as prescribed by a doctor. As far as precautions go, wash your feet regularly and then dry them using a separate towel, especially the area between the toes. Wear clean socks, preferably cotton, and clean shoes every day. Apart from Athlete’s Foot, people contract several other skin infections during the monsoon which might cause rashes, itching and a burning sensation. To keep these at bay, use anti-bacterial soap and try wearing more cotton clothes.
Higher temperatures and humidity during monsoon serve as a conducive condition for various vectors to thrive, which is why more people contract vector-borne diseases like dengue and malaria during the season. Parasites like plasmodium develop much faster at higher temperatures.