Here’s how to stay healthy in monsoon

Monday, July 12, 2010

NEW DELHI - It’s monsoon time and so, enjoy the rain, but don’t forget to keep the mosquitoes at bay or to wash your hands frequently to ward off infections. For, the humid conditions and moderate temperatures create perfect conditions for the spread of diseases.

Experts also warn against the overuse of antibiotics and suggest boosting the immune system instead.

“The growth of bacteria is caused by high humidity and a temperature that is neither too high nor too low. It results in diseases like jaundice, malaria, typhoid, cholera, cough, cold, fever and flu,” Max Hospital senior physician Anil Gomber told IANS.

The Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) has so far received 12 cases of malaria and 173 of cholera. There have also been three cases of dengue in the capital.

MCD’s chief medical officer N.K. Yadav said, “People should ensure that the water they drink is pure. The household should be kept clean at all times and special attention should be paid to the hygiene of kids.”

There’s indeed a lot you can do to keep infections away, say doctors.

“The cleaning up of stagnant water bodies, overflowing drains, leaky walls and roofs is a must during the rainy season. Use repellants to prevent mosquito bites and the most important is the drinking water should be clean,” Gomber said.

One should bathe regularly and wash hands with soap frequently to prevent fungal infections. Desert coolers should be cleaned once in a while and all water reservoirs and tanks should be covered, Gomber said.

Experts also suggest boosting one’s immune system.

“The natural immune system protects us with its enormous variety of defence mechanisms. It becomes stronger and more capable of handling threats when it is successful in containing an infection on its own,” said Arun Diwan, a senior consultant (Internal Medicine) at the Batra Hospital.

Overuse of antibiotics, exposure to radiation, hazardous chemicals and widespread use of corticosteroids should be avoided, say experts.

Building natural immunity is especially important in children whose immune systems are vulnerable to a large number of diseases. Doctors suggest that choosing a healthy lifestyle and eating a balanced diet are the key to building a strong immune system.

“Eat foodstuffs with high fibre content and add barley, rice and wheat to the food as they facilitate digestion and also strengthen the digestive system,” Diwan said.

Immune-nutrients which are present in numerous food items should be consumed regularly as they help in building the body’s immunity and enhance its ability to fight infection.

Natural herbs like ashwagandha, guduchi and kesar are rich in immune-nutrients. They help in controlling stress, energising the body and rejuvenating the immune system.

Foodstuffs like barley, rice, wheat, amla and shatavari facilitate and strengthen the digestive system.

Randeep Guleria, professor of medicine in the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, said, “Consuming fresh fruits and green vegetables help in boosting the immune system as they are rich in anti-oxidants and micro-nutrients.”

So stay fit to enjoy the monsoon to the hilt.

Filed under: Antibiotics, Cholera, Dengue, Medicine

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