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The monsoons in India brings with it some common health problems for Indian women; some simple health tips for you!
By Debjani Talapatra
After the scorching months of summer, many Indian women stare at the skies hoping for rain and a much needed respite from the heat of summer. Soon enough, the rains arrive to squeals of delight and bring a respite from the dreadful heat, water shortages and power cuts. While we celebrate for the most part, there are certain things that put a decided spanner in the works.
Monsoons in India bring in their wake a host of challenges- water clogged roads, traffic snarls and the public transportation in cities like Mumbai, to a standstill. But the worst accompaniments of the monsoons are the numerous health hazards one encounters.
The monsoons in India are harbingers of a number of ailments. Stomach bugs, food contamination and allied ailments are most common due to the unhygienic conditions in most Indian cities. Another recent scare over the last decade has been insect-related illnesses such as Dengue fever, Chikungunya and an increase in cases of malaria. With the accumulation of rain water in nooks and crannies, havens for mosquito breeding, these life-threatening illnesses peak in the monsoons.
Those suffering from skin ailments also report a spurt in their condition in the rainy season. Similarly, people suffering from Asthma have their troubles aggravated. Plus, the monsoons might as well be called Flu Season, with hordes of people coming down with the dreaded flu, high fever, body ache and persistent cold and cough.
This is compounded by closed air-conditioned spaces like offices, where people spend most of their time. The germ-filled air re-circulated by the AC ducts further aids in the spread of viruses and germs. These maladies are enough to make anyone want to wish the rains away.
Though the risks seem daunting, there are ways to ensure one’s health and happiness don’t suffer terribly in the rains. These health tips for women are a good way to start!
1. Avoid outside food to curb instances of food poisoning and stomach bugs. Commercial districts like MG Road in Bangalore and Nariman Point in Mumbai are lined with food stalls that do roaring business in lunch hours and evenings. However, in the rains, it’s best to steer clear of them, since most of the food is uncooked fare and thus a possible health hazard.
2. Be highly vigilant of the water you consume, due to the possibility of many water borne illnesses such as typhoid and jaundice. If you’re unsure of the water quality at your office, carry water from home.
3. Drinking green tea, which is full of anti-oxidants, is helpful in building up one’s immunity.
4. For those who fall prey to viruses, it’s advisable to take some vitamin supplements to boost one’s immunity (after checking with your doctor).
5. Make sure that the area surrounding your house doesn’t become a breeding ground for mosquitoes; this can be ensured by regular cleaning of the area so that water does not stagnate in large or small pools. Burning eucalyptus or neem leaves is also an effective way to ward off mosquitoes.
6. Washing one’s hands frequently or using hand sanitizers is a great way to keep germs at bay.
7. To avoid insect and mosquito bites, expose as little skin as possible especially in the evenings. Or apply repellents to ward off mosquitoes.
8. Stay dry as much as you can. It’s wise to keep an extra set of clothes at work; something to change out of if one is soaked on the way to work.
9. Appropriate footwear goes a long way in making sure that one doesn’t develop fungal or bacterial infections. Wearing leather shoes is a bad idea because leather easily develops fungus after getting wet. Wear shoes made of breathable material and keep your feet clean at all times.
10. For those living in cities like Bangalore (or anywhere in the hills), where showers mean a drastic drop in temperature, carrying a shawl or sweater is helpful in keeping warm and avoiding a cold.
Finally, if you are down with flu or a bad cold it’s advisable to stay home and not spread the germs. Dr. Priyanka Shetty, a practicing GP, offers us some final words of advice. “The biggest mistake people make is to self medicate and use over-the-counter analgesics. While these work sometimes, it’s best not to self-medicate indiscriminately. Especially is someone has been sick for a more than 4-5 days and the medication is not working, go to a doctor! Viral Fevers tend to be more severe these days with temperatures running over 1040F for which general analgesics don’t work. ”
While it’s tempting to throw caution to the winds and welcome the blessed relief that the monsoon brings, it’s always advisable to take minimal safeguards and precautions that will make the monsoon the pleasant experience it is meant to be.
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