With the first splash of monsoon shower, there is loads of relief from the scorching heat of summer. Rainy season brings with it a sense of fun and frolic especially among the kids and youngsters who love getting drenched in the drizzle. But on a serious note have you ever noticed that in comparison to the other seasons, there is drastic fall in the attendance sheets of schools, colleges and offices? On the other hand, there is so much rush in the clinics, hospitals and nursing homes all across the world. Well, this is because monsoon brings along with it, its own weather induced diseases, which leaves no stone unturned to create menace in human lives. Starting from cold and cough, fevers to stomach infections and diarrhea, people seem to suffer a lot. However, not to worry as in this article I will be discussing with you 13 most common monsoon diseases, their symptoms and ways to keep them at bay.
Diseases that churn out of monsoons are a kill-joy. The humid damp weather is just appropriate for the annoying germs like bacteria, fungus to breed. The bottomless path holes, waterlogged roads, muck and the stagnant pools of water become the ideal breeding grounds of these germs. While almost everyone can fall prey to these diseases, it is the mainly the kids, aged people and the other weaker souls who are at greater risk of being victimized. If proper care is not taken, these diseases can often become life threatening, so stay informed and safe from the most common monsoon diseases.
List of most common monsoon diseases
Before knowing the remedies, just have a look at the names of the diseases, which tops the most common monsoon diseases list. This will make you more aware and help you in preventing them.
- Viral fevers
- Hepatitis A
- Stomach infection
Now that you have already known the names, let me give you the details of these diseases, their symptoms and preventive measures.
Ways to keep the common monsoon diseases at bay
With the festive and the wedding season round the corner, I am sure you all are geared up to have a blast. At the same time, you need to keep in mind, that before the festivity comes the rainy season and that it has already struck the city with vengeance. Now, you are more likely to fall ill unless and until you start taking proper care. Prevention is always better than cure, so start your health care regime to combat monsoon diseases from now onwards. Come let me make your task easier. Have a thorough look at this detailed list of the common monsoon diseases, their symptoms and ways to prevent them.
Are you ready? Let’s get started
Malaria is a life-threatening mosquito borne blood disease caused by a Plasmodium parasite and tops the list of the most common monsoon diseases. It is transmitted to humans through the bite of the Anopheles mosquito. Once an infected mosquito bites a human, the parasites multiply in the host’s liver before infecting and destroying red blood cells.
Symptoms of malaria:
- Pain in the muscles
- Fast heart rate
Remedies to prevent malaria
- Protect yourself from mosquitoes by using mosquito repellents and nets
- Do not allow water to stagnate as mosquito larvae thrive in stagnating water
- Clean your water tank frequently
- Ask your municipal authorities to spray your area with a mosquito repellent and clear any stagnating pools
- If there is a lake or pond near your house, then introduce gambusia fish in it. These fish feed on mosquito larvae and can help control the mosquito population.
Diarrhea, also spelled Diarrhoea, is the condition of having at least three or more loose or liquid bowel movements each day. The most common cause is an infection of the intestines due to a virus, bacteria, or parasite; a condition known as gastroenteritis. These infections are often acquired from food or water that has been contaminated by stool, or directly from another person who is infected. It may be divided into three types: short duration watery diarrhea, short duration bloody diarrhea, and if it lasts for more than two weeks, persistent diarrhea. The short duration watery diarrhea may be due to an infection by cholera.
Symptoms of diarrhea:
- Loose stools
- Decreased urination
- Dark colored urine
- Loss of skin color
- Dry mouth and tongue
- Sunken eyes
- High fever (mainly in children)
- Rectal pain
- Abdominal pain
Remedies to prevent diarrhea
- Maintain proper hygiene
- Wash hands before handling food
- Drink only boiled water
- Avoid fats, sweets, coffee, and milk products until you are completely over the diarrhea.
- Disinfectant the toilet, handle and the seat after the person has used it each time.
- Do not share towels, flannels, cutlery or utensils with the person who is unwell. Keep them at home until at least 48 hours after the last episode of diarrhea
Dengue (pronounced Dengee) fever, mostly common in tropical or sub tropical regions, is a painful, debilitating mosquito-borne disease caused by any one of the four closely related dengue viruses. These viruses are related to the viruses that cause West Nile infection and yellow fever. Dengue fever is transmitted by the bite of an Aedes mosquito infected with a dengue virus. The mosquito becomes infected when it bites a person with dengue virus in their blood. Dengue mosquito typically bites during the day. Because one of five serotypes causes the dengue virus, it is possible to get dengue fever multiple times. However, an attack of dengue produces immunity for a lifetime to that particular viral stereotype to which the patient was exposed. It cannot spread directly from one person to another person.
Symptoms of dengue:
- Sudden, high fever
- Severe headaches
- Pain behind the eyes
- Severe joint and muscle pain
- Skin rash (after 2-5 days after the onset of fever)
- Mild bleeding (such a nose bleed, bleeding gums, or easy bruising)
Remedies to prevent dengue
- You can prevent the risk of the disease by keeping your surroundings clean and wearing protective clothing.
- Reduce the mosquito habitat by removing standing water around your house.
- Some experts say the favourite spots of are below the elbow and below the knee. So try to wear full sleeves dresses and full pants mainly during the day as dengue mosquito typically attacks during the day.
- They are generally active between the period of August-October and do not breed when the temperature falls. So be extra careful during this time.
- You could turn to natural repellents like Lemon Eucalyptus Oil, Lavender, Neem Oil and Cinnamon Oil to protect yourself against mosquito bites.
- Plants like feverfew, citronella, catnip and lavender have mosquito repellent properties. Place them around your house to keep mosquitoes away. Even herbs like garlic, lemongrass, basil, peppermint, rosemary may help.
Here’s a detailed remedy to cure dengue fever using papaya leaves.
Chikungunya is a mosquito-borne viral disease first described during an outbreak in southern Tanzania in 1952. It is characterized by an abrupt onset of fever frequently accompanied by joint pain. The virus is transmitted from human to human by the bites of infected female mosquitoes.
Most commonly, the mosquitoes involved are Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus, two species which can also transmit other mosquito-borne viruses, including dengue. These mosquitoes can be found biting throughout daylight hours, though there may be peaks of activity in the early morning and late afternoon.
Both species are found biting outdoors, but Aedes aegypti will also readily feed indoors. Less common modes of transmission include vertical transmission, which is transmission from mother to child during pregnancy or at birth. Transmission via infected blood products and through organ donation is also theoretically possible during times of outbreak, though no cases have yet been documented.
Symptoms of chikungunya:
- Sudden fever
- Joint pain
- Muscle pain
- Swelling around the joints
Remedies of chikungunya
- You can use insect repellent containing DEET (N, N-Diethyl-meta-toluamide) or picaridin on skin and clothing
- Wear clothing that covers the whole body
- Try to stay indoors as much as possible, especially during early morning and late afternoon
- Use products containing oil of lemon eucalyptus or PMD (p-Menthane-3,8-diol) can be effective.
- You can use air-conditioning – this deters mosquitoes from entering room
- Sleeping under a mosquito net is a must
- Use mosquito coils and insecticide vaporizers
The disease is caused by the bacterium Salmonella typhi and is highly infectious. The bacteria are present in human feces, and a healthy person may fall prey to the disease by consuming contaminated food and water (this is known as the feces-oral route). S. typhi enters through the mouth and spends 1-3 weeks in the intestine. After this time, it makes its way through the intestinal wall and into the bloodstream. From the bloodstream, it spreads into other tissues and organs. Some patients carry the infection in their gall bladder even after the disease is cured. The pathogen is excreted and flies then act as carriers/ vectors, contaminating food and water.
Symptoms of typhoid:
- High fever
- Rash (mainly on neck and abdomen)
- Abdominal pain
- Constipation often followed by diarrhea
Remedies of typhoid
- Drink bottled water (preferably carbonated)
- If bottled water cannot be sourced, ensure water is heated on a rolling boil for at least one minute before consuming
- Be wary of eating anything that has been handled by someone else
- Avoid eating at street food stands, and only eat food that is still piping hot
- Do not have ice in drinks
- Avoid raw fruit and vegetables and peel fruit yourself (do not eat the peel)
- If you live in areas prone to contagious diseases, getting yourself vaccinated against typhoid will keep you safe
However, viral fever occurs during all season, but they are most often during monsoon. Viral fever refers to a wide range of viral infections, usually characterized by an increase in normal body temperature. It is quite common in children and old people due to lowered immunity. Viral fever, as the name suggests, is a condition that is transmitted from one person to another through direct contact with the person’s bodily fluids. When a person coughs, sneezes, yawns or even talks they tend to spray tiny particles of fluid that contain bacteria and viruses from their body. If you are close enough, these bacteria enter your body through your nose or mouth and infect you. Once infected it takes anywhere from 16 hours to 48 hours to turn into a full-blown infection.
Symptoms of viral fever:
- High body temperature
- Body aches
- Skin rashes
- Itchy throat
- Red, watery eyes
- Runny nose
- Nasal congestion
Ways to prevent viral fever
- Drink boiled water or use water purifiers to purify the water before drinking.
- Cover mouth and nose with handkerchief while coughing or sneezing
- Change hand towels frequently
- Use hand sanitizers while travelling
- Avoid eating outside and eat as much fresh foods as possible
- Avoid getting wet in the rain
- Drink lots of fluids
Vibrio cholerae is the pathogen that causes this deadly disease by infecting the small intestine. With an incubation period of 6-48 hrs, symptoms show quickly after infection. Cholera is highly contagious. It is spread mostly by unsafe water and unsafe food that has been contaminated with human feces containing the bacteria. Flies act as carriers of the disease, which is why the disease spreads faster in areas of poor sanitation. Undercooked seafood is a common source.
Symptoms of cholera:
- Loose stools
- Lot of fluid loss
- Rapid heart rate
- Loss of skin elasticity
- Dry mucous membranes, including the inside of the mouth, throat, nose, and eyelids
- Low blood pressure
- Muscle cramps
- Weight loss
- Watery eyes
Ways to prevent cholera
- Immunization to cholera lasts for about six months. A person vaccinated for the first time should be immunized again after 10 days
- Drink boiled water or treat your water with chlorine
- Bottled water with unbroken seals and canned/bottled carbonated beverages are safe to drink and use
- Use safe water to brush your teeth, wash and prepare food,
- You should maintain proper personal hygiene and good sanitation in the surroundings
- Wash your hands frequently and keep them clean
- The seafood’s should be cooked properly
- Keep your kitchen and toilets clean
- All eatables should be covered and flies should be kept at bay
This disease affects both animals and human beings and is caused by the bacterium Leptospira spp. An animal carrying the leptospira bacteria may show no outward signs of illness. The bacteria live inside the animal’s kidneys and can be passed out in their urine. Humans can get leptospirosis through direct contact with urine from infected animals or through water, soil or food contaminated with their urine. Many different kinds of animals can carry the bacteria, but it is most commonly associated with rats/ mice, dogs and farm animals like pigs, cattle’s, horses and sheep. The disease can also pass through the consumption of contaminated water and contaminated food or by wading in dirty water (as happens in floods) with open wounds. Without treatment, leptospirosis can lead to kidney and liver damage and even death.
Symptoms of leptospirosis:
- Muscle pains
- Joint pains
- High fever
- Rashes or red spots
- Coughing up blood
- Red eyes
- Sore throat
Here’s how to prevent leptospirosis
- Avoid contact with stagnant rainwater, it is likely to be contaminated by animal urine
- Keep all wounds clean and covered; use antiseptics to clean the wound and prevent infection
- Avoid swimming in possibly contaminated water (sea, lakes, etc)
- A timely diagnosis can help in controlling the spread of disease
- You should wear adequate protective clothing if you have an occupation where you come into contact with animals (particularly rodents) or sources of contaminated water, such as farming or working with sewers or drains.
- At the moment, there isn’t a vaccine that protects humans from leptospirosis, but it is possible to vaccinate cattle, dogs and some other animals.
Jaundice is the medical term that describes yellowing of the skin and eyes. Jaundice itself is not a disease but it is a symptom of several possible underlying illnesses. Bilirubin is a yellow pigment that is formed by the breakdown of dead red blood cells in the liver. Normally, the liver gets rid of bilirubin along with old red blood cells. Jaundice occurs when your liver does not metabolize bilirubin the way it’s supposed to and there is too much bilirubin content in your system. Jaundice may indicate a serious problem with the function of your red blood cells, liver, gallbladder, or pancreas.
Symptoms of jaundice:
- Yellow tinge to the skin and the whites of the eyes, normally starting at the head and spreading down the body
- Pruritis (itchiness)
- Abdominal pain (typically indicate a blockage of the bile duct)
- Weight loss
- Paler than usual stools
- Dark urine
Remedies to prevent jaundice
- Recent studies and researchers have shown that vaccines can be used to prevent jaundice
- Reducing alcohol intake is one of the remedies to prevent jaundice.
- Phototherapy is the most important treatment for jaundice, especially newborn jaundice.
- Drink boiled water and avoid eating street food
- Obesity and jaundice are connected. So it is better that you try to cut down the fatty foods and keep the cholesterol level in control
- Go for a healthy and balanced diet
- Always take medicines with the consultation of a doctor. Liver cells will undergo extra stress to metabolize drugs and this may result in jaundice.
- You must try to avoid foods like coffee, red chilies, tobacco, hot spices and tea should be avoided
Influenza, or flu, is a respiratory illness caused by a virus. Flu is highly contagious and is normally spread by the coughs and sneezes of an infected person. Although unpleasant, flu is rarely life threatening. You can also catch flu by touching an infected person, for instance, shaking hands. Adults are contagious 1-2 days before getting symptoms and up to 7 days after becoming ill. This means that you can spread the influenza virus before you even know you are infected
Symptoms of influenza:
- High temperature
- Cold sweats
- Aching joints and limbs
- Sore throat
How to prevent influenza?
- The single best way to prevent seasonal flu is to get vaccinated each year
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- If possible, stay home from work, school, and errands when you are sick. This will help prevent spreading your illness to others
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. It may prevent those around you from getting sick
- Washing your hands often will help protect you from germs. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub
- Germs are often spread when a person touches something that is contaminated with germs and then touches his or her eyes, nose, or mouth. So avoid touching your nose, eyes or mouth as much as possible
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces at home, work or school, especially when someone is ill
- Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious food.
Hepatitis A is a contagious liver infection caused by the hepatitis A virus (HAV). Hepatitis A virus is found in the stool (feces) of people with HAV infection. It enters the body through the mouth after someone handles something contaminated with HAV, or eats or drinks something contaminated with HAV. People usually get hepatitis A by having close contact with a person who is infected, from food or drinks prepared by someone who is infected, or by eating shellfish harvested from sewage-contaminated water. After the virus enters the body, there is an incubation period lasting 2 to 7 weeks until illness begins.
Symptoms of Hepatitis A:
- feeling tired and generally unwell
- joint and muscle pain
- Loss of appetite
- Sickly feeling
- Pain in the upper right part of the tummy
- Yellowing of the skin and the eyes (jaundice)
- Dark urine
- Pale stools
- Itchy skin
How to prevent Hepatitis A
- Take plenty of rest
- Take painkillers such as paracetamolor ibuprofen for any aches and pains – ask your general physician for advice about this, as you may need to take lower doses than normal or avoid certain medications until you’ve recovered
- Maintain a cool, well-ventilated environment, wear loose clothing, and avoid hot baths or showers to reduce any itching
- Eat smaller, lighter meals to help reduce nausea and vomiting
- Avoid alcohol to reduce the strain on your liver
- Stay off work or school and avoid having sex until at least a week after your jaundice or other symptoms started
- Practice good hygiene measures, such as washing your hands with soap and water regularly
Pneumonia is an inflammation of the airspaces in the lung most commonly caused by infections. Bacteria, viruses, or fungi (infrequently) can cause the infection. There are also a few noninfectious types of pneumonia that are caused by inhaling or aspirating foreign matter or toxic substances into the lungs. Pneumonia is generally more serious when it affects older adults, infants and young children, those with chronic medical conditions, or those with weakened immune function.
Symptoms of pneumonia:
- Coughing that may cause mucus(phlegm)
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain
- High fever
- Bluish lips and nails
Remedies to prevent pneumonia
- Stop smoking
- Avoid people who have infections that often lead to pneumonia
- Stay away from people who have colds, the flu, or other respiratory tract infections.
- If you didn’t get vaccines against these diseases, then be extra careful.
- Wash your hands often. This helps prevent the spread of viruses and bacteria that may cause pneumonia
- Have healthy and nutritious balanced diet. The stronger your immune system, the less likely you are going to fall prey to pneumonia
There are a number of pathogenic microorganisms that can affect the stomach and the infection usually extends to neighboring structures, namely the esophagus proximally and duodenum distally. Stomach infections can broadly cause two common conditions – gastritis and gastroenteritis. At times, toxins from infectious agents, mainly bacteria, can cause inflammation without the pathogen infecting the stomach itself. Other infections involving the esophagus and duodenum of the small intestine may also affect the stomach, like is seen in infectious colitis.
Symptoms of stomach infection:
- Abdominal pain
- Stomach cramps
- Bloating – sensation of fullness
Remedies to prevent stomach infections
- Avoid eating roadside unhealthy foods
- If you have no other option but to eat out then eat smartly. Choose foods “idli”and “dosas” that are served steaming hot. The heat kills the pathogens and lowers your risk of acquiring an infection.
- Do not eat under cooked foods, as they are likely to be contaminated with bacteria such as Salmonellaand coli that can cause food poisoning.
- Drink boiled or purified water
- Wash your hands carefully before eating
- Swimming is a good exercise but it can often lead to stomach flu. Avoid as much as possible
Over to you
Monsoon is the season to enjoy the rains, go out for a drive or relish the host and tasty food. But if you do not take proper care of yourself, you may fall ill. The list of common monsoon disease is long, but there is nothing to worry, because with a bit of precaution, these diseases can be prevented.
Just be careful of these diseases as a few of them might be life threatening. If you feel weak, do not hesitate to go for doctor checkups and tests. You will get early relief if you diagnose it on the early stages else things might take a more serious turn. Health is precious, so do not ignore it. We have already discussed about the 13 most common monsoon diseases, its symptoms and ways to prevent these diseases. A little awareness will help you keep the most common monsoon diseases away.
Till then, stay healthy and stay happy.
Eliana the chief editor at bodyandbeans is a professional yoga instructor and a fitness freak. She has done her master’s in history from Kolkata University. She is passionate about healthy eating and living practices.