Monsoon maladies: Protect yourself from common ailments during the rainy season

By Dr Kajal Pandya Yeptho

Here are a few simple tips you can follow to guard against common ailments during the rainy season.

What are the common ailments to guard against during monsoon?

Cholera and diarrhoea are the most common diseases which come with symptoms like chills, muscle pain, fever, headache, nausea, weakness and others. Unhygienic and contaminated food can harm your liver and cause jaundice. Gastro-intestinal infections, gastroenteritis, and vomiting are some of the other common problems. Additionally, one must be cautious against Hepatitis A, which is a viral infection with symptoms like fatigue, fever, tenderness in the stomach, yellow eyes, dark-coloured urine, etc.

How can we minimise skin and stomach infections during rains?

Here are a few simple diet tips:

Eat nutritional fruits and vegetables: Eating clean, safe seasonal fruits like apples, pomegranates, bananas, cucumbers can give you the essential nutrients to build immunity and protect you against diseases.

Consume plenty of fluids: Drinking plenty of boiled and safe water can boost your immunity and keep you hydrated throughout the day. It makes your skin look better and flushes out harmful toxins out of your body.

Eat light food: Eating home-cooked meals such as dal, rice, porridge, khichdi, soup, etc, can help maintain a healthy digestive system. One can add easily available items such as corn, baked potatoes, sweet potatoes, unsalted nuts, plain yogurt, chickpea, oats, etc, which can help you satiate hunger pangs and add some nutrients as well.

Add probiotics: Probiotics are beneficial microorganisms that help in a healthy digestive system.

Wash your feet and hands: It is important to pay attention to personal hygiene at all times by bathing daily and washing your feet and hands once you reach home. Try to keep yourself dry since staying wet for too long can give rise to several skin infections.

Don’t share personal belongings: Avoid sharing personal belongings since most of the skin diseases are contagious.

Use dermatologist approved products: Use dermatologist approved soaps, skin creams and powders and keep the health of skin in check.

Wear breathable fabrics: Avoid clothes and socks of synthetic fabric as they do not allow skin pores to breathe or evaporation of sweat from skin.

Any guidelines regarding food preparation and storage?

Keep all storage dry and dark: All food products, whether dry or cold, should always be stored away from sunlight exposure. This helps with temperature control and stops food from spoiling or losing some of its nutritional value. To help preserve product quality, humidity levels should always stay under 15%.

Monitor humidity levels: Keeping a hygrometer is one of the best ways to monitor humidity levels and ensure that they stay consistent.

Store food based on cooking temperatures: The higher the temperature of the cooked food, the lower the fridge storage shelf. Dry storage temperatures should be kept between 50° and 70° F, freezers should have an internal temperature of 0° F at most, while fridge temperatures should be kept between 32° and 40° F to prevent bacterial growth. Any hot storage must keep food at a minimum of 140° F.

Is it safe to eat out?

The switch from one season to another can take a toll on health, unless some basic rules are followed. It is imperative to eat healthy and follow a disciplined lifestyle, which includes proper rest and exercise, so as to make it a smooth transition. The arrival of the monsoon season means a host of health issues, like infections and allergies. One should avoid street food and juices from outside especially during the monsoon season as it may cause stomach infection due to the use of unhygienic water.

(Dr Kajal Pandya Yeptho is chief dietician, Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals, New Delhi.)

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