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Doctor ’s’ Corner

The Monsoon Melodies or Maladies?
While one should enjoy the nature's scheme of dousing the summer scorching, being aware of the diseases that come along is essential. It is important for people to be aware of the measures that prevent infections, so that the children are protected from the monsoon maladies. This knowledge could go a long way in preventing infections and the morbidities that come along.

A. Water borne diseases

Water borne diseases occur primarily due to water contamination. These diseases are preventable if adequate pre-monsoon efforts are put in by the governmental agencies

1.Gastroenteritis:  It is an inflammation of intestinal lining caused by a virus, bacteria or parasites.

Symptoms:- Vomiting and diarrhea

Preventive Measures :-

  • Replenishment of not only water but also salts is mandatory. This could be easily achieved by rehydration methods such as drinking electrolyte solutions such as tender coconut water, oral rehydration solutions (ORS), buttermilk and lime juice with salt and sugar


Important : In extremes of age, this could occasionally prove
fatal. Early diagnosis and treatment is mandatory.

2.Typhoid:  Typhoid fever is an infectious disease caused by the bacteria Salmonella typhi.

Symptoms:- The illness is characterized by very high fever,sweating, gastroenteritis, diarrhea and abdominal pain

Preventive Measures :-

  • Avoid drinking untreated water and raw fruits and vegetables
  • Consume hot foods where bacteria cannot survive
  • Adequately clean household items, and avoid handling food if there is a risk of spreading the disease

B. Diseases due to water stagnation

Water stagnation anywhere in the vicinity of human dwellings can be a source of disease-carrying insects where intermediate hosts of microbes thrive in water.

1. Dengue fever: Dengue is a viral infection transmitted by the bite of an infected female Aedes mosquito.

The dengue fever could manifest in three forms:

a. Classic Dengue fever: The infection period could be up to 10 days. Headache, muscular pain, joint pain, pain in the back of the eyes, weakness, loss of appetite and vomiting could be the symptoms. Occasionally throat pain, pinkish rashes on the upper part of the body could occur.
b. Dengue hemorrhagic fever: The main manifestation of hemorrhagic fever is bleeding from gums, nose and other orifices.Blood in the vomit and blackish spots under the skin are not unusual.
c. Dengue shock syndrome: This type of dengue fever manifests with low blood pressure and damages to multiple organs. Dengue shock syndrome may prove fatal in high risk community such as pregnant women and the elderly.

Preventive Measures :-

  • Eliminate stagnant water that serve as mosquito breeding sites at home, workplaces and their vicinity
  • For personal protection, use mosquito repellant sprays that contain DEET when visiting places where dengue is endemic


2. Malaria: Malaria is caused by a parasite that is passed from one human to          another by the bite of infected Anopheles mosquitoes. The parasites enter the bloodstream and infect red blood cells.

Symptoms:-

  • Intermittent mild fever, headache muscle aches and chills
  • After 3-5 days the typical malarial paroxysms start,usually characterised by chills, followed by fever (up to 40 degreesCelsius), and then sweating


Preventive Measures :-

  • Prevention of infection through vector control
  • Use of mosquito repellents
  • Administration of antimalarial drugs to vulnerable groups such as pregnant woman and infants


Apart from the above mentioned diseases, the other key diseases that one should be aware of are Leptospirosis, Chinkungunya and Brucellolis.


Author
Dr. Sheela Chakravarthy
Director, Internal Medicine, Fortis Hospitals, Bangalore