Monsoon season can add to your health woes as the season is known to weaken immunity and raise risk of illnesses and infections. As per studies, one’s chances of getting microbial infections goes up manifold in monsoon owing to humid weather conditions and temperature fluctuations. This year, many parts of the country received excess rainfall due to which diseases caused by virus, bacteria, fungus are seeing an exponential rise. Viral infections from dengue, malaria to influenza and common cold, gastro-intestinal diseases, hepatitis, conjunctivitis are fast spreading in the recent months. (Also read: Want better immunity? Check out this recommended diet for monsoon)
“Increased viral activity during the monsoon season often leads to the prevalence of viral fevers. Some of the viral infections that are prevalent in monsoon seasons and can be easily prevented by taking precautions,” says Dr. Ramniwas Gupta, Senior Consultant, Dept of Internal Medicine, Amrita Hospital, Faridabad.
1. Dengue fever
Transmitted by mosquitoes, dengue can cause high fever, severe body pain, and even life-threatening complications. “Spread by the Aedes mosquito, dengue fever manifests with an abrupt onset of high fever, intense joint and muscle discomfort, headache, and a rash. In severe cases, it can lead to dengue haemorrhagic fever or dengue shock syndrome, causing bleeding, organ damage, and even death,” says Dr Gupta.
Malaria is another mosquito-borne disease that can lead to fever, chills, and body aches. Proper mosquito protection is crucial. It is important to wear long sleeved clothes that cover the body completely and take measures to control mosquito breeding, says Dr. Saibal Chakravorty, Senior Consultant – Internal Medicine, Metro Hospitals & Heart Institute, Noida Sector-11, UP shares common viral infections that are rampant in monsoon.
Also transmitted by Aedes mosquitoes, chikungunya causes fever, joint pain, muscle pain, headache, and rash. While fatalities are rare, the joint pain can be quite debilitating and persist for months, affecting the quality of life, says Dr Gupta.
4. Influenza (Flu)
Flu viruses thrive in damp weather. Symptoms include fever, cough, fatigue, and body aches. Vaccination is a key preventive measure, says Dr Chakravorty. It can lead to pneumonia and other respiratory complications, particularly in vulnerable populations, says Dr Gupta.
5. Common Cold
“Caused by various viruses, colds lead to a runny nose, cough, sneezing, and mild fever. Hygiene and avoiding close contact can help prevent it,” adds Dr Chakravorty.
6. Viral Gastroenteritis
“Also known as stomach flu, it causes vomiting, diarrhoea, and abdominal pain. Staying hydrated is important,” says Dr Chakravorty. “Several different viruses, including rotavirus, norovirus, and adenovirus, account for most cases of acute viral gastroenteritis (loose motions and vomiting). The majority are spread through the faecal-oral route, which includes contaminated food and water,” says Dr Gupta.
7. Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease
Mostly affecting children, this viral infection causes sores in the mouth, hands, and feet. It spreads easily in crowded places, says Dr Chakravorty.
8. Hepatitis A & E
These viral infections primarily spread through contaminated food and water. Symptoms encompass jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes), tiredness, abdominal discomfort, queasiness, and retching. Hepatitis A & E are usually self-limiting but can cause severe illness in some cases, says Dr Gupta.
9. Viral Conjunctivitis (Eye Flu)
Viral conjunctivitis is highly contagious and is usually caused by adenovirus. Symptoms include eye irritation, photophobia, and watery discharge. Practice good eye hygiene and avoid using contact lenses. Viral conjunctivitis is self-limiting, lasting 1 week in mild cases to up to 3 weeks in severe cases. For symptomatic relief, apply cool compresses, says Dr Gupta.
“The varicella-zoster virus (VZV) causes chickenpox, a highly contagious illness. Other symptoms include an itchy, blister-like rash. The rash begins on the chest, back, and face before spreading across the entire body,” says Dr Gupta.
Viral infections: Prevention and treatment
Dr Gupta shares some prevention and treatment suggestions for the viral infections that tend to spread during the monsoon season in India:
Stay hydrated: Staying well-hydrated is crucial for most viral infections to aid in recovery and manage symptoms.
Rest: Get plenty of rest to help your body recover and build up its immune response.
Pain and fever relief: Over-the-counter pain relievers and fever reducers (such as acetaminophen or paracetamol) can help manage symptoms. Always follow the recommended dosage.
Medical attention: Seek medical help if symptoms worsen or if you experience severe symptoms. This is especially important for conditions like dengue, where early intervention can prevent complications.
Hygiene: Isolate yourself to prevent the spread of infections to others. Practice good respiratory hygiene by covering your mouth and nose when sneezing or coughing.
Vaccination: If available, consider getting vaccinated against diseases like hepatitis A, chickenpox, and influenza to prevent infection.
Remember that self-medication is not recommended. Consult a medical professional for accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment, especially for severe or persistent symptoms.
Courtesy – www.hindustantimes.com