While the COVID-19 pandemic rages on, the onset of monsoon is likely to fester a plenitude of diseases in Kerala including dengue, malaria, and leptospirosis or rat fever.
A high-level meeting which included Health Minister Veena George and Minister of Panchayats MV Govindan was convened last week to discuss the mitigation strategies this monsoon season.
An action plan incorporating all government departments is being formulated by the Health Department to prevent the spread of communicable diseases associated with monsoon season.
A cleanliness drive will be organised by the various departments on June 5 and 6.
Keeping these diseases at bay will require a collective effort of local bodies, resident associations, volunteer organisations, youth forums, political parties, Kudumbasree workers, students and the common citizen.
Here is a list of monsoon diseases and tips to prevent them.
Cold and Flu
Temperature fluctuations during monsoon makes the human body susceptible to bacterial and viral attacks like cold and flu. Consuming nutritious foods and strengthening immunity is vital in preventing such infections.
Rat Fever (Leptospirosis)
Leptospirosis, which spreads through contaminated water, is the most common illness found in Kerala during monsoon season. Symptoms include high fever, headache, bleeding, muscle pain, chills, red eyes and vomiting. Without treatment, it can lead to kidney damage, meningitis, liver failure and respiratory distress.
All those likely to be in contact with contaminated water should wear protective gear such as gloves, footwear, and mask.
Such people should also take two 100 mg tablets of doxycycline once every week for 6-8 weeks. Doxycycline, the antibiotic for rat fever, is available free of cost in all government hospitals in Kerala.
Waterlogging during monsoon results in breeding of mosquitoes, which in turn transmits malaria.
Symptoms of malaria include chills, fever and sweating, pain in abdomen or muscles.
Keeping your surroundings clean from clogging of water is important to keep the disease at bay.
May 30 was observed as dry day in Kerala to motivate households to clear their surroundings of water.
As dengue fever is transmitted through mosquito bites, keeping the body protected from mosquito bite is key to ensure safety. Symptoms include high fever, headache, rash and muscle and joint pain.
Cholera is a waterborne infection which causes dehydration and diarrhoea. Drinking boiled, treated or purified water is an important prevention mechanism for cholera.
This bacterial infection caused by Salmonella typhi is a result of contaminated food and water. Maintaining proper hygiene and sanitation and at the same time using clean water is essential.
This infection is caused by contaminated food and water and mainly affects the liver. Some common Hepatitis A symptoms seen are fever, vomiting, rash, etc. Maintaining proper hygiene can cover the risk of this condition.
Besides the above mentioned illnesses many respiratory tract diseases and skin infections are frequent during monsoon.
It is important to stay dry and wear light, airy clothes and wear open footwear during this season to prevent skin infections. Staying hydrated, drinking clean, boiled water, eating plenty of nutritious foods for boosting your immunity will also help in keeping diseases at bay.