How to prevent monsoon illnesses

The monsoon season brings welcome rain but also an increase in colds and flus. Wen people spend more time together indoors, cases of viral infections increase. Good hygiene may prevent those who are sick from spreading it to others and protect those who are not sick from catching a virus.

Colds, flus and several other respiratory illnesses are caused by viruses that spread from person to person. Rainy weather causes people to spend more time indoors and in the company of others, thereby increasing the spread of these viral monsoon illnesses.

“Cold, cough, and breathing difficulty due to wheezing are all on the rise over the past month,” Kingsley Jebakumar, a paediatrician in Tamil Nadu, told The Hindu in June.

Maintaining simple hygiene practices such as frequent hand washing and avoiding hand contact with your face are some ways to keep infection away. If you do have a cold or cough, cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when coughing and sneezing and throw the tissue out after. This will help curb the disease being spread.

Eating a lot of healthy protein can also help you boost your immune system and keep viruses away. According to Dr. Kingsley, soups, eggs, spinach, and pulses are all good sources.

There are over 200 viruses that cause the common cold, and most people get one sooner or later. Children inevitably catch colds frequently since they haven to built up immunity to all the viruses. The most you can do is help them recover quickly.

In addition to the common cold and seasonal flu, some other viral respiratory illnesses include the H1N1 swine flu, respiratory syncitial virus (RSV) and possibly Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS; up to June 2015, no cases have been recorded in India).

If your child is showing more severe symptoms than that of a cold, make sure you get him medical care immediately. These symptoms include rapid breathing or breathing where the stomach sinks in deeply, wheezing, loss of appetite, excessive fatigue and skin or lips having a blue tinge.

Along with respiratory illness, water-borne disease is also rampant once the monsoon hits. To protect yourself against getting diarrhea, avoid eating food and drinking water from outside. At home, make sure all water for eating and drinking is boiled before it is consumed and fresh produce is thoroughly washed.

Read FamiLife’s complete guide to the common cold and seasonal flu.

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