It's like falling into the fire after getting roasted in the frying pan! Well, almost. Just when you thought that the Sun is done with beating down on you this summer, here's a word of caution: the dark clouds of monsoon too can spell trouble for you if you don't follow the basic rules of hygiene. Because, for all the relief rains come with, the accompanying humidity threatens to spoil the party for you: It enables germs to survive much longer than usual, and travel farther.
So, here's how to make the most of this merry rainy season: We tell you how to fortify yourself against common infections that peak during the rains.
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It is one of the most common infections that affect both adults and children. The latter, though, are n more susceptible to conjunctivitis. Caused by viruses and bacteria, this irritating infection of the eye spreads more rapidly during the rains. Its symptoms include itchy eyes, redness in the white of the eye or inner eyelid and blurred vision. Says Dr SK Dutta from Kolkata: "To protect yourself from conjunctivitis, cleanliness is the key. Don't share a towel or hanky with anyone. Keep clean tissues and napkins with you at all the time. Wash your hands regularly to keep them germ-free and make sure you don't touch your eyes with dirty hands or rub them." Most conjunctivitis cases, says Dr Dutta, naturally subside in 2 to 3 days. The only way you can bring relief to your eyes is by applying a warm compress for 5 to 10 minutes, 3 to 4 times a day.
This is the time of the year when you need to be extra careful about what you eat and drink. Caused by an infection, diarrhea is also a symptom of a bowel infection when the stomach and the intestines become inflamed. Says Dr Amitabh Ray, a general practitioner, "To combat diarrhea, drink plenty of fluids since it often carries a risk of dehydration. WHO Oral Rehydration Salts (ORS) is a proven shield against the disease."
Experts say that children are the most susceptible to malaria, a mosquito-borne disease. Again, this is one disease you can shield yourself against by maintaining cleanliness: Just don't let stagnant water anywhere near your house because they turn into open breeding grounds for mosquitoes, says Dr Ray. Protect yourself against mosquito bites by wearing insect-repellants and sleeping under bed nets treated with insecticide. Covering your food and the water you store, drinking only boiled water are other precautions that will shield you against the rampaging mosquitoes.
Respiratory tract infections
Respiratory tract infections like common cold are a common phenomenon during the monsoons. Symptoms include a runny nose, sore throat and cough. And in more severe cases, it leads to watery eyes, sneezing and congestion. Experts say that the symptoms of a common cold make it seem more harmful than it actually is. Drinking lots of water, fresh fruit juices, clear broth or warm lemon water are all good choices. They help replace the fluids lost during mucus production or fever. Avoid alcohol and caffeine, since both cause dehydration. Get some rest. Soothe your throat.A saltwater gargle — 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon salt dissolved in a glass of warm water — can temporarily relieve a sore or scratchy throat.
Skin infections like ringworms, a contagious fungal infection of the skin, are a common occurrence during the monsoons. According to says Dr Dutta, ringworms appear as a circular or ring-shaped rash.You can get a ringworm from an infected person or pet, or touching objects or clothes. Excessive sweating, caused by the humidity, increases the chances of picking up ringworm and monsoons increase the risk of getting infected by ringworm adds Dr Dutta. "Keep your skin cool and dry and washing your hands regularly is very important. Don’t share or borrow your personal items such as brushes, towels, razors and clothing with others. Some desi home remedies for ringworm are multani mitti or fuller's earth paste. Besan or gram flour and dahi paste with a pinch of haldi," Dr Dutta suggests.