During monsoon, Vitamin D deficiency, diarrhoea, malaria among health issues that can affect humans

Weather changes, moisture and an abundance of allergens usually make monsoon season very difficult for those who have asthma or are prone to respiratory allergies.

Myupchar July 07, 2020 21:56:07 IST
During monsoon, Vitamin D deficiency, diarrhoea, malaria among health issues that can affect humans

The Indian subcontinent usually experiences monsoon between the months of July and September, and as refreshing as it can be after a few months of extreme heat, this rainy weather also brings a number of health issues. With the COVID-19 pandemic still raging across the world, monsoon is bound to be even more difficult this year, considering the Indian healthcare system is already strained.

Preventing common health problems that show up in India during monsoon is therefore of vital importance in 2020. Here are a few issues you should be aware of and take precautions against with immediate effect.

1. Vitamin D deficiency

Sunlight is one of the best sources of this essential nutrient and also the one thing that’s not as naturally available during monsoon season. A study published in the Journal of Family Medicine and Family Care in 2018 clearly states that vitamin D deficiency has an 80-90 percent prevalence in all age groups and high-risk groups in India, and can cause everything from autoimmune diseases and cardiovascular diseases to cancer and tuberculosis.

A new study published in SSRN indicates that since vitamin D deficiency has also been linked to the severity of COVID-19 infection, potential increases in vitamin D deficiency during monsoon can even lead to a spike in the severity and mortality due to COVID-19. This is something you and your loved ones can avoid by consulting a doctor about taking vitamin D supplements, getting any sunlight that you can and replenishing your diet with vitamin D-rich foods like fatty fish, egg yolks and mushrooms.

2. Fungal infections

A study published in the International Journal of Microbiology in 2014 shows that all tropical regions which receive rainfall between the months of June and September create an environment of warmth and moisture, which is highly conducive for fungi and fungal infections of all sorts. You might imagine that this puts dry weather states in Western and Northern India free of fungal infections but that isn’t the case.

Another study published in the Indian Journal of Microbiology in 2012 — conducted in Jaipur, Rajasthan — states that the average temperature of 44 degrees Celsius and high humidity persists during the monsoon months, leading to a rise in dermatophytes (a type of fungi which affects the skin, hair and nails).

This highlights the importance of taking precautions against all types of fungal infections, no matter which part of India you stay in.

3. Asthma and allergies

Weather changes, moisture and an abundance of allergens usually make monsoon season very difficult for those who have asthma or are prone to respiratory allergies. A study published in the International Archives of Allergy and Immunology in 2018 clearly shows that osmotic rupture of pollen releases allergens in the air during monsoons. The presence of these pollen grains, fungal spores, insects and dust mites during monsoon — even indoors — is a major cause of asthma-related hospitalizations. Investing in a good air purifier to at least make your home safe is a recommended precaution, especially if you have asthma, allergies or respiratory diseases.

4. Mosquito-borne diseases

During monsoon season, stagnant and dirty water helps the growth of mosquitoes which are carriers of diseases like malaria, dengue and chikungunya, leading to a huge spike in these diseases. A 2019 study published in The Lancet shows that the southeast Asian region carries 52 percent of the dengue burden of the world, while India alone accounted for 34 percent of the global dengue burden.

According to the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) World Malaria Report 2019, India and 19 other sub-Saharan Africa nations share 85% of the global malaria burden, with India leading in Plasmodium vivax strain of the disease globally. This indicates that you must take all precautions possible against these vector-borne diseases and ask your local authorities to spray insecticides in high-risk areas.

5. Water-borne diseases

The WHO mentions that 3.4 million people in India are affected by water-borne diseases every year, with the highest spikes being noted during and after the monsoon months. Typhoid, cholera, leptospirosis, jaundice, hepatitis A and gastrointestinal infections (including diarrhoea) are some of the major water-borne diseases you must take precautions against.

Most of these diseases are either caused by viral or bacterial contamination of drinking water, a study in the British Medical Journal in 2003 mentions. Not only is it, therefore, important to disinfect toilets and maintain the safety of drinking water, but you should also wash green leafy vegetables and fruits thoroughly. Avoid seafood during monsoon months, because fish — if growing in contaminated water — can become a carrier of these illnesses.

For more information, read our article on Vitamin D Deficiency.

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.

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