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Monsoon malady

June 20 is marked as rain day for Mumbai. Now's a good time to remember how you can enjoy the showers without the sickness.
Hindustan Times | By HT Correspondent, Sai Raje
UPDATED ON JUN 03, 2008 06:49 PM IST

Mumbaikars have always loved the rains and hated them, and this year the met department expects our first showers by June 10.

Part of the romance is our monsoon food tradition of onion bhajiyas, steaming masala chai and roasted corn-on-the-cob; part of it is our annual pilgrimage to Marine Drive to see waves crash into a wall of white foam.

The messy part includes murky floods, overflowing drains and rotting garbage. And this dark side of the season brings with it a range of unpleasant illnesses every year, illnesses that can be tackled much better if we know more about them. A monsoon awareness programme conducted by doctors at the Dr L H Hiranandani Hospital in Powai last Sunday set out to do just that.

By and large, monsoon illnesses are the result of water-borne or mosquito-borne infections. Common water-borne diseases include dysentery, diarrhoea, typhoid, hepatitis A and E, leptospirosis and worms, while mosquitoes carry parasites that cause malaria, dengue, yellow fever and chikungunya.

Facts, precautions and damage control Water-borne viral infections like acute gastroenteritis, typhoid, hepatitis and lep tospirosis can leave you with symptoms like fever, cough, cold and body ache.

Typhoid is characterised by a dry cough coupled with fever and headache. Leptospirosis, caused by water infected with rat urine, brings on muscle pain, fever and kidney failure.

Nausea, vomiting, weakness and yellowing of eyes and urine are signs of viral hepatitis A or jaundice. "It's the most common culprit in the school-going age group and many of us aren't aware that it is a vaccine-preventable infection. Vaccines can easily be given to anyone over one year of age," says consultant paediatrician, Dr Sanjeev Ahuja.

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