High humidity, owing to intermittent rains, has led to an increase in the number of diseases such as stomach flu, typhoid, viral influenza and conjunctivitis. The last few days have been particularly busy for doctors in the city.
“Rain and increased humidity provide an ideal environment for growth and spread of disease-causing viruses and bacteria. The setting in of monsoon is the ideal time in which these micro organisms thrive as the temperature is perfect for their growth and multiplication,” said Dr Suranjit Chatterjee, senior consultant for internal medicine at Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals.
Waterborne diseases top the chart in this weather. The weather is such that people tend to drink water and juices from outside that can be contaminated. Also, water stagnation and insanitary conditions brought about by the rains leads to diseases.
"In this season drinking water gets contaminated as it tends to get mixed with surface water. This leads to a lot of health problems. Though, waterborne diseases are spread either directly or through flies or filth, water is the chief medium,” says Dr Umesh Kapil, department of gastroenterology and human nutrition, AIIMS.
No matter how thirsty or hungry one feels, doctors warn against drinking fruit juices or eating sliced/cut up fruits or salad at a roadside stall as it may be have been made/washed using contaminated water. Food is the easiest way through which disease-causing germs reach a human gut where they multiply.
Using unsafe water to wash eyes may also not be a good idea as the bacteria in that water could give you a serious infection.
"The stickiness in the weather makes people want to splash on their face to stay cool. However, one has to be careful with the quality of water as contaminated water entering the eyes can lead to infection. In fact, in this weather one must wash his/her hands, feet and face properly when home, but with clean water,” said Dr Mahipal S. Sachdev, senior eye-specialist and owner of Centre for Sight, a chain of eye hospitals.
The numbers may not be alarming yet but cases of mosquito-borne infections such as malaria and dengue have also started pouring in. Allowing water to stagnate or collect at a place in this season invites disease-causing mosquitoes to breed.
"Residents should not let water stagnate in and around their premises. Stagnation of water will only lead to breeding of mosquitoes. So one has to be careful so as to discard any unused item such as flowerpots, tyres and crockery in which water can accumulate,” said a senior health official from New Delhi Municipal Council.
"Residents should also be careful about mosquito bites and use mosquito-repellant creams, aerosol sprays or bed-nets. They should keep their doors and windows shut, especially at dawn and dusk. As far as possible, wear full-sleeved shirts and trousers,” said Dr Rommel Tickoo, senior consultant, internal medicine, Max Hospital.
Drink boiled or chlorinated water. Drink bottled water when outside
Don’t eat raw food outside.
Eat freshly made home-cooked food
Wash hands frequently, especially before eating and after going to the washroom
Use a alcohol-based hand sanitizer
Cover your mouth while sneezing or coughing
Don’t use handkerchief; use a tissue and discard after each use
Don’t share food, water or clothes when sick
Maintain proper hygiene