Medical Awareness

PRECAUTION IS BETTER THAN CURE

For us monsoon conjures hot cups of tea and snacks, retro music in the background and the pitter-patter of the raindrops on the window pane. But this picture perfect situation goes out of the window as soon as you step out. You need to know about 10 monsoon diseases that require special care. While most are easily treatable, a few can be life threatening.

  1. MALARIA
  2. DIARRHOEA
  3. DENGUE
  4. CHIKUNGUNYA
  5. TYPHOID
  6. VIRAL FEVERS AND RESPIRATORY INFECTIONS
  7. LEPTOSPIROSIS
  8. JAUNDICE
  9. STOMACH INFECTION
  10. SKIN INFECTION

MALARIA


Life cycle of the malarial parasite

In the list of top common monsoon ailments, malaria takes the number one spot.

CAUSE:

Female anopheles mosquito causes malaria; they usually breed in waterlogged areas.

COMMON SYMPTOMS:

 Fever, shivers, muscle pain and headache, weakness, drowsiness & altered sensorium.

PRECAUTION:

Clean your water tank frequently. There should be no stagnant water around the house to avoid the risk of malaria

HOME REMEDY:


Female Anopheles Mosquito

In 1 glass of water, add 1 tsp of cinnamon powder and bring to a boil. Thereafter add a pinch of pepper powder and some honey to it before drinking. Eating grape fruit serves as an effective remedy in treating malaria, as it contains quinine-like substance

The herb chirayata, botanically known as Swertia chirata is considered valuable in curing intermittent malarial fevers. In 250 ml hot water, add 15 grams of this herb along with aromatics like cloves and cinnamon and consume in the doses of 15 to 30 ml.

DIARRHOEA

This is another common ailment during monsoon

CAUSE:

Diarrhoea is caused due to consumption of unhygienic food and contaminated water.

Types of diarrhoea

  • Acute diarrhoea
  • Chronic diarrhea

Both these are highly preventable and treatable.

SYMPTOMS:

Frequent watery stools, fever, dehydration, lethargy, poor urine output

PRECAUTION:

  • Maintain proper hygiene,
  • Frequent hand washing particularly before handling food
  • Drinking water should be boiled
  • Avoid road side fly infested food

HOME REMEDY:

It's important to keep replacing your body's supply of water and electrolytes, which include sodium, potassium and chloride

This can be done with lime juice water to which a pinch of salt and sugar has been added

  1. Vitamin and Zinc supplements and probiotics are also very helpful. Mix up the perfect electrolyte drink by stirring a pinch of salt and four teaspoons of sugar with juice of one lemon in a liter of water.
  2. Add a little bit of orange juice, lemon juice or salt substitute for potassium.
  3. Stick with "clear foods" for a day or two.
  4. Avoid fruit juices. Large amounts of fructose can be hard to digest.
  5. Spoil yourself with the BRAT diet: bananas, rice, apple sauce or curd and toast. All are bland and soothing, and the bananas and apple sauce or curd contain pectin, a type of soluble fiber that soaks up excess fluid in your intestine and slows down the passage of stool.
  6. Carrots are another soothing source of pectin.

Cook some carrots until they're soft, and then drop them in a blender with a little water and puree into a baby-food consistency. Eat a quarter to a half-cup each hour. AVOID: Avoid the Foods particles which are rich in roughage, which can be hard to digest. That means no beans, cabbage or Brussels sprouts. Milk products and cheese cream and butter should be avoided.

DENGUE


Aedes Aegypti Mosquito
Dengue fever is a monsoon ailment

CAUSE:

Dengue is caused by Aedes Aegypti mosquito.

SYMPTOMS:

Fever, body aches, severe joint pains and rash, bleeding tendency, circulatory collapse.

PRECAUTION:

  • Boiled Tulsi that is basil leaves served in a warm drink like tea can help prevent an outbreak of dengue. This bitter and pungent herb has all the properties that strengthen the internal system against fever.
  • Use insect repellent and cover all body surfaces with clothes particularly at night.

Dengue Rash

HOME REMIDY:

  • Neem leaves, Neem Oil are a great purifying agent and should be applied on a damp warm cloth in dosages of between 15 to 60 grams 2-3 times daily.
  • The leaves of coriander can be taken in the form of a tonic to reduce the fevers in dengue.
  • Papaya juice is a natural cure for dengue fever. The juice of Papaya leaf is a tried remedy for platelets deficiency.
  • Chirayata has tremendous medicinal properties in the reduction of fevers. It is used for remedying the convulsions that accompany fevers in dengue.
  • Fenugreek leaves are taken as herbal tea in order to reduce fevers. This drink acts as a soothing and cleansing tea for the human system.

CHIKUNGUNYA


Poly Arthralgia
It is a monsoon disease as well

CAUSE:

Due to the bite of infected "Aedes albopictus" mosquito. These mosquitoes breed in stagnated water and bite during bright daylight.

SYMPTOMS:

An abrupt onset of fever, which is accompanied by joint pain.

PREVENTION:

Discard water containers with stagnant water. Use insect repellent on exposed body surfaces. If required it is also advisable to use Permithrin (insecticide) on clothes, shoes, and mosquito nets.


Chikungunya Rash

HOME REMEDY:

Warm coconut oil to be mixed with camphor should be massaged an aching joint with soft hands. Do not massage gently. Please avoid air contacts after massage therapy. Ingestion of half tea spoon of turmeric (haldi) powder with milk or with water help in relieving pain and in swelling too. Mix 5 drops of ginger oil with 20 drops of almond oil and massage into tender areas. Olive oil massage also relaxes painful and tender joints followed by steam fomentation.

DIAGNOSIS AND TREATMENT:

Many symptoms of chikungunya are same as those of dengue, and hence there is a risk of the disease being misdiagnosed.

Chikungunya can be diagnosed through laboratory tests like Rt-PCR, serological tests and virus isolation. Recovery from the fever depends on the age and immunity of the patient. While children usually recover in 5 to 15 days, adults may recover in 1 to 2.5 months. Elderly patients may take even longer than that. There is no specific medication for chikungunya, but the treatment is directed at relieving the symptoms like fever and joint pain. Rest is advised in case of high fever and severe joint pain. Mild exercises like stretching may improve stiffness and joint pain, which generally occurs in the morning.

TYPHOID


Water-borne disease
Typhoid is a water-borne disease, which is on highly prevalent during the monsoon

CAUSE:

S. Typhi bacteria(S typhi) causes typhoid, which is transmitted by consuming contaminated water or food. Poor sanitation also helps in the spread of the disease.

SYMPTOMS:

High grade and continuous fever, headache, weakness, abdominal pain and diarrhoea.


Salmonella Typhi

PREVENTION:

Wash your hands regularly, avoid consuming street-side food or water and drink plenty of healthy fluids, consult your doctor as early as possible.

VIRAL FEVERS AND RESPIRATORY INFECTIONS


Common Symptoms of Viral Fever
Viral fever occurs during all season, but they are more common during the monsoon

CAUSE:

Most viral infections are spread by inhalation of aerosolized particles, by intake of contaminated water or food, or by direct contact. Infection then spreads locally and thereafter into the blood stream or lymph channels.

SYMPTOMS:

Fever is mild to moderate, which can last for 3 to 7 days and is associated with cough, sore throat and respiratory symptoms.

PREVENTION:

Viral fevers are difficult to prevent. Fortunately since most infections are mild and self-limited, we can be assured of a full recovery.

HOME REMEDY:

The Jawaharlal Nehru Tropical Botanic Garden and Research Institute (JNTBGRI) here is embarking on a research project to evaluate the platelet augmentation activity of selected herbs and their effect on viral fevers.

NATUROPATHY TREATMENT:

In viral fever it is strongly recommended to consume soup made up of raw garlic and onion. A mixture of honey, lime juice and a touch of brandy is recommended at bed time. Similarly, drinking juice made out of sweet basil leaves twice or thrice a day is beneficial. You can also boil 2 to 3 tablespoon of dry roasted fenugreek seeds, strain the water and add a drop of clarified butter to it in order to alleviate the symptoms. Khichadi is very good with spices like cumin seeds, coriander, turmeric, ginger and salt can be also be added to it. Also gargling with warm water and salt is helpful. Try using steam inhalation for its soothing effect. One can also use margosa leaves which act as a natural antiviral and prevent the spread of infection. During viral fever, it's very common that the patient loses his appetite. But in this situation, it's very important to take fluid diet and food rich in vitamins and minerals. Tulsi leaves when chewed directly or taken in boiled water or tea works wonderfully in this case. Ginger juice infusion with honey is also very beneficial.

LEPTOSPIROSIS


Sewage or Rat-infested Rainwater
Leptospirosis is also known as Weil's syndrome.

CAUSE:

By contact with sewage or rat infested rain water on broken skin surfaces

SYMPTOM:

Headache, muscle pain, fever, shivers and jaundice.

PREVENTION:

Cover your feet completely, when venturing outdoors and treat all kinds of cuts and bruises effectively.

DIAGNOSIS :

At present there are two different methods of leptospirosis diagnosis:

  1. To detect leptospira antigens
  2. Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR)

JAUNDICE


Jaundice
This is also a monsoon ailment.

CAUSE:

Jaundice viruses are usually spread through contaminated water and food and faeco- oral contamination.

SYMPTOM:

Weakness, High colored urine, nausea, vomiting liver tenderness, fever, and itching.

PREVENTION:

Drink boiled water and avoid eating street food, to keep jaundice at bay in the monsoon.

HOME REMEDIES :

Proper diet, high in glucose or carbohydrates is the simplest form of jaundice therapy. But if the condition is serious, recovery will also be slow. Take rest till the symptoms subside. Ample quantity of fruits juices is recommended with plenty of glucose. Juices of orange, lemon, grapes, pear, carrot, beet and sugarcane are very helpful. Eat 3 meals a day of fresh, juicy fruits like apples, pears, grapes, oranges and pineapple. Ensure adequate intake of fluids amounting to at least 1500ml to 2000 ml or more. Then follow the diet mentioned below:

On awakening: A glass of warm water with the juice of half a lemon added.

Breakfast: A juicy fruit like apple, pear, papaya, grapes, berries and mango, a cup of wheat dalia or a slice of whole wheat bread. Mid-morning: Orange or pear juice

Lunch: Raw vegetable salad, 2 small chappatis of whole wheat flour, a steamed leafy vegetable like spinach, methi saag or carrot and a glass of butter-milk.

Mid-afternoon: Coconut water or apple juice Dinner: A cup of strained vegetable soup, 2 chappatis of whole wheat, baked potato and a leafy vegetable like methi or spinach.

Before going to bed: A glass of hot skimmed milk with honey if you want. Avoid all fats like ghee, butter, cream and oils for 2 weeks at least. Then include minimum amount of butter and olive oil. Drink plenty of fresh vegetables and fruit juices. Add dandelion leaves, radishes with leaves and raw vegetable salad. Raw apples and pears are extremely helpful. Drink barley water many times a day as it is a good remedy for jaundice. You can get this by boiling a cup of barley in 3 liters of water and simmered for 3 hours. Avoid any kind of digestive disturbances. Do not eat any food like pulses or legumes that have the capacity to ferment or putrefy in the large intestines. Green leaves of radish are another valuable remedy in the treatment of jaundice. Pound the leaves and extract their juices through the cloth. Take half a liter daily, after straining it through a clean piece of muslin cloth. It will induce a healthy appetite and cause proper cleaning of bowels, thus decreasing the problem gradually. In many cases, this treatment can cure the problem completely. Tomato juice is an excellent remedy in the treatment of this disease. Take the fresh tomato juice, mix it with a pinch of salt and pepper early in the morning. The leaves of snake gourd are very useful in the treatment of jaundice. Take an infusion of these leaves in the doses of 30 – 60 ml thrice daily. But mix the coriander seeds before taking the infusion. By following the above routine religiously, you can easily overcome the problem very easily and safely. Your liver will regain its lost vitality and will start functioning normally. Take reasonable care in your diet and lifestyle to prevent the recurrence of the liver problem. Take plenty of rest and complete avoidance of alcohol is strongly recommended. Liver has an excellent capability to regenerate itself, provided you give it the required nourishment. Ensure that your diet is high in complex carbohydrate, vitamin C vitamin E, vitamins B particularly thiamine, riboflavin and pyridoxine .All these nutrients will hasten he regeneration of liver. You should continue to take precautions in your diet even after recovery.

 

STOMACH INFECTION

The monsoon also brings in serious stomach infections like gastroenteritis.

CAUSE:

It is again contracted by consuming contaminated food and water.

SYMPTOM:

Severe vomiting, diarrhoea and stomach pain, fever.

PREVENTION:

Avoid eating roadside food, drink only boiled water and drink plenty of fluids.

HOME REMEDIES :

  1. Twice a day one should consume crushed poppy seeds. This cools off the heat of the stomach and also restores the digestive system.
  2. Curry made of green gram and horse gram is yet another widely followed home remedy for stomach infection.
  3. To maintain proper digestion, intake of garlic and ginger juice is one of the best solutions. Both these agents have anti-bacterial properties.
  4. A glass of warm water with a big spoon of honey will not only enhance the digestive system but also increase the immunity.
  5. Taking a dose of asafoetida every day in the morning with water on empty stomach helps in killing the stomach bacteria. Follow these home remedies for stomach infection for quick cure. While suffering from stomach ailment, make sure you avoid the intake of food which is difficult to digest, like milk, pulses, flour etc.
  6. Plenty of oral fluids, coconut water, oral rehydration solutions, buttermilk, barley water and rice conjee are recommended to avoid dehydration.

 

SKIN INFECTION

Due to the warm, damp and humid climate, skin infections become very common during the monsoons. Your skin is very vulnerable to skin problems. If these problems aren't checked in time, they could get worse. This is why it's important to recognize skin infections early and treat them.

COMMON SKIN INFECTIONS

Ringworm or tinea -like lesions–are a form of fungal infection. They appear in the underarm or around the waist as itchy, irregular round patches that are reddish in color. Diabetics are more prone and while palm and sole infections take a month to heal, others subside within a few weeks. Treatment is with an antifungal ointment.

Athlete’s foot is a bacterial-fungal infection that erupts when feet are wet for hours, especially after exposure to dirty water. In severe cases, the skin turns whitish or greenish itches and emits a foul-smelling discharge or pus. Staying dry and carrying a change of footwear to the office will help.

Prickly heat. We sweat profusely during monsoon months. Unfortunately, layering yourself with talcum powder will clog the sweat ducts, making you prone to prickly heat and sweat rash.

Scabies is the result of mite infestation. A sprinkling of red bumps or a rash on hands, wrists, underarms, web of fingers and abdomen are the first signs, and being contagious, need immediate intervention. Often the entire family or members of day-care group or school class will experience scabies together.

Worsening of acne problem in hot humid weather afflicts some people. They need to be particular in keeping their skin dry and should use anti acne preparation. An anti-bacterial cream like Betadine would take care of most of the boils.

PREVENTIVE TIPS

Keep your body dry.

If caught in unexpected showers dry yourself as soon as possible. Change wet undergarments and switch to cotton ones, as they allow body to breathe.

Wear sandals if possible to air your feet.

Allow damp hair to dry before you tie it again.

To circumvent allergies from mosquito bites wear full-sleeved clothes and use a mosquito repellent cream.

Top