A runny nose, or cough. Persistent body ache, perhaps even a fever. Physicians have listed these as common complaints they're hearing from patients over the past few weeks. Most of these cases in the past month have been viral infections and some of them stomach ailments. Now, doctors are warning of a possible rise in these ailments.
"Before the monsoon could set in, the fluctuation in day and evening temperatures, together with high humidity, triggered a spurt in airborne diseases," said Dr Pratit Samdhani, consultant physician at Jaslok Hospital.
The outdoor patient departments (OPDs) at various hospitals have registered a rise in cases of fever and stomach trouble. During the monsoon period, municipal hospitals receive about 25 per cent more patients.
"The monsoon has just begun, but we have already been witnessing a steady flow of patients with symptoms of viral fever and gastroenteritis," said Dr Hemant Thacker, consultant physician, Breach Candy and Jaslok Hospital. "Gastroenteritis cases would only increase as a result of waterlogging, which increases the risk of water contamination."
The KEM hospital and other civic hospitals have set up additional wards for treatment of rain-related diseases. "We have set up special OPDs and an observation ward. We also have a rapid response team of doctors to attend to emergency cases as they come in," said a senior doctor in the civic health department.
Doctors explain that with the change in season viruses become more active. The most common cases are upper respiratory infections causing cough, common cold, tonsillitis, nosebleeds and throat problems.
They advise Mumbaikars to avoid unhygienic habits like eating outside, gulping cold drinks and ice-creams, and to adopt hygienic practices like washing vegetables and fruits and drinking boiled water only.
Doctors warn that those with diabetes, hypertension and low immunity should be more careful about what they eat and drink during this season.
"People with diabetes or hypertension should keep their sugar levels and pressure under control. Those who have respiratory problems like asthma too must be very careful as they are more susceptible to infections and complications. We advise such people to take vaccines against typhoid, hepatitis and respiratory ailments," said Dr Anil Ballani, physician at Lilavati Hospital.
PREVENTION & CURE
Dr Abhay Shirkande, consultant general physician, Kohinoor hospital, shares tips on staying healthy during the monsoon.
Diabetic patients should not walk barefoot, as the soil breeds more germs during the rain. Use comfortable footwear.
Bronchial asthma patients should ensure that there is no seepage and accumulation of water in the house and fungus does not grow on furniture.
Malaria and dengue can be avoided by preventing water stagnation.
Leptospirosis spreads through monsoon water contaminated by the excreta of rodents that may enter the skin through cuts on the feet. Wear protective footwear like gumboots.
One must take extra care of diet by avoiding juices, golas and any street food. It's advisable to avoid pre-cut fruit or salad that is sold at roadside stalls. Avoid seafood.
Cut down on fried snacks. Discard food in cans or packets that are leaking or bulging.
Consume only pasteurized dairy products. Use clean eggs with shells intact.
Maintain hygiene. Wash hands with soap before eating. If sneezing, cover your mouth and nose with a handkerchief.