Mumbai on orange alert for heavy to very heavy rainfall: Here’s a health checklist to help you wade through the aftermath
Early today, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) observatory in Colaba, South Mumbai, reported 73.6 millimetres (mm) of rainfall in the last 24 hours. While the figure from the IMD Santacruz observatory stood at a staggering 242.2 mm. To put this in context, the National Capital, New Delhi, typically gets under 700 mm of rain in the whole year.
This heavy rainfall has disrupted life in the financial capital: Since this morning, 30 flights to Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport have reportedly been cancelled. And though the local train service has resumed in many places, people in the worst affected areas are being advised to stay indoors. Many schools are also closed for the second day in a row.
While staying indoors will help you stay safe from the water and adjunct dangers — a few months ago, three people were electrocuted in Mumbai after heavy rains — it does not completely negate the health risks of downpours and waterlogging. But with a bit of vigilance and some basic precautions, you can tide over this period.
Common monsoon diseases in India
Heavy rains and waterlogging are ideal conditions for the growth of infectious microorganisms. The humidity in the air further facilitates their spread. “High humidity and waterlogging increase your chances of acquiring infections during the monsoons,” said Dr Md Shamim Reyaz, a medical practitioner associated with myUpchar.com.
Here’s a quick list of health risks and how to guard against them:
Mosquito-borne diseases: Waterlogging during monsoons creates the perfect breeding grounds for mosquitoes, which then act as vectors for diseases like dengue, malaria and chikungunya. Simple precautions like wearing clothes that cover the whole body, and using insect repellents can improve your chances of avoiding infection. It is also a good idea to clear away or fill water puddles around your home, as and when this is possible.
Diseases due to waterlogging: Standing water also acts as a breeding ground for infectious bacteria. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), flooding increases the risk of infection - especially if your water source is polluted. (On Wednesday, Mumbai's Mithi river crossed the danger mark. Authorities had to evacuate 1,700 residents from nearby areas.)
Common water-borne diseases include typhoid, cholera, diarrhoea, jaundice, hepatitis and leptospirosis (a bacterial disease which starts with symptoms like high fever, abdominal pain and diarrhoea, but can lead to kidney or liver failure if untreated).
While it is a good idea to boil or filter water before drinking throughout the year, it becomes crucial after the rains. Additionally, if you or someone in your family has high fever and diarrhoea, make sure they stay hydrated and take them to see a doctor.
Fungal infections: Fungus grows rapidly in hot and humid environments. Fungal infections usually manifest in the form of itching or skin rashes and can cause diseases such as Athlete’s foot and ringworms. As much as possible, try to change out of wet clothes immediately. Carry an extra set of clothes in your bag when you head to the office or school.
Apart from skin infections, colds, flu, viral fever and eye infections are also common complaints during the rains. If you have a viral fever, stay hydrated. The symptoms should pass within a week to 10 days. If they persist, please see a doctor as soon as possible.
What can you do to prevent diseases?
The key to avoiding infections in the monsoon is staying vigilant and stemming the growth of causative agents. Here’s a quick recap of to-dos:
- Avoid waterlogging around your home to prevent mosquitos from breeding. Use pesticide spray on puddles, if necessary
- Wear clothes that cover you fully, like full-sleeved shirts and trousers
- Don’t forget to put on repellent sprays or lotions, especially when you go out
- Use mosquito nets at night
- Wash your hands before and after every meal
- Wash fruits and vegetables extra carefully
- If you drink tap water, make sure to boil it before drinking - this will kill many of the germs
- Try to stay away from infected people. If this is not possible, take the utmost care by wearing a mask over your nose and washing your hands after you meet them
- Avoid eating out and don’t leave any food items uncovered at home
For more monsoon-related health tips read: Five skin, hair and nail infections to watch out for in the rainy months
Health articles in Firstpost are written by myUpchar.com, India’s first and biggest resource for verified medical information. At myUpchar, researchers and journalists work with doctors to bring you information on all things health. To know more on this topic, please visit http://www.myupchar.com/en/disease/diseases-of-the-monsoon
The information provided here is intended to provide free education about certain medical conditions and certain possible treatment. It is not a substitute for examination, diagnosis, treatment, and medical care provided by a licensed and qualified health professional. If you believe you, your child or someone you know suffers from the conditions described herein, please see your health care provider immediately. Do not attempt to treat yourself, your child, or anyone else without proper medical supervision. You acknowledge and agree that neither myUpchar nor firstpost is liable for any loss or damage which may be incurred by you as a result of the information provided here, or as a result of any reliance placed by you on the completeness, accuracy or existence of any information provided herein.
Updated Date: Sep 05, 2019 16:40:57 IST
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