Just as the summer is receding and Monsoon has hit many parts of India, you already see the news about flooding as well. Many places in Kerala, Karnataka, Assam, etc. has received extensive rainfall and with rains and floods also come a lot of diseases. The water-borne diseases like Cholera, Dysentery, Typhoid, Gastroenteritis, etc., are common during this season. Also, when water is logged in places, it becomes the breeding ground for mosquitoes, and there will be an influx of them. This can lead to mosquito bites and diseases related to that like Malaria or Dengue. Hence, there is a need to take extreme precautions about health, especially concerning water, during the rainy season.
How we get water-borne diseases?
Water-borne diseases occur when we consume contaminated water. And during monsoon, this is a common as we have underground pipes carrying water and we do not know where there could have been a possibility of the water getting exposed or contaminated. Also, most water-borne diseases are contagious as well. So, it can spread from one person to another, unless care is taken.
The good news is that we can take a few precautions to avoid water-borne diseases. The most important of all these precautions is to disinfect water at our end as we may not have much control over the source of the water. The best way to purify water is to boil it well so that all micro-organisms in it are killed. You may also choose to use iodine tinctures or tablets to disinfect the water.
A few other precautions that can be taken is to ensure that you do not drink any additional outside water, wash your hands thoroughly before eating or drinking, use properly cleaned and wiped vessels, wash all vegetables properly before cooking and also cook them well enough. Dispose of home waste responsibly, so that there is no chance of contamination, especially if you have diapers, sanitary items, etc.
Try to eat hot, home-cooked foods and avoid food and drink outside as much as possible. Cover the food and water and do not leave it open, lest any flies sit on it and spread the disease.
Eating some immune boosting foods for the monsoon season is also recommended as it helps fight the diseases. Include some hot and healthy soups in your everyday diet. Include some good gut bacterial probiotic foods like yogurt, especially Vitamin D fortified ones if you can find it. This is also because the sunlight linked Vitamin D will be less because of the rains, and also we don’t step out often. Dry fruits and green leafy vegetables are another good options to keep the immunity up during this season. We Indians anyway use lots of spices in our food and few of them like turmeric, asafoetida (hing), coriander, pepper, cinnamon, ginger, etc. are good to have to keep the immunity going. Also, have some black tea as that helps too, and it would just feel right for the season as well.
While if you get any severe symptoms and persistently, one should visit a doctor without fail, however, few home remedies can be tried when the symptoms are mild. For example, for cholera, lemon and ginger can be consumed as this is said to kill the cholera-causing bacteria. Also, include onion and turmeric in your food daily as these two can help keep cholera at bay and also provide relief from the symptoms.
Home remedies for Typhoid fever once diagnosed, include, increased fluid intake, using cold compresses to bring the temperature down, drinking ORS solution made of sugar and salt, including garlic in your diet, and drinking basil and ginger concoction.
Please remember that home remedies are only adjunct treatments and not to be relied upon, especially when symptoms seem severe; only proper medical guidance and help should be taken in such cases.