June heralds several events of collectively shared importance. For lovers, it could be the month they finally say their “I dos”; for students, it’s the reopening of a new school year; and for just about everyone with a similar weather in the Philippines, it’s the start or at least a scattered beginning of what used to be so reliably the rainy month (before the so-called climate change that made the weather all erratic).
Southwest monsoon or what is more famously the “Habagat” shifts from the easy breeze of the Northeast during the previous months. The frolic of summer and all the mottos that go with it: beat the heat, drink up, party like there’s no tomorrows are now a thing of the past, at least for the time being.
It’s again the time for raincoats, rubber boots and transparent umbrellas in place of the opaque ones, swimsuits and sunglasses.
Yes. That for fashion and the following for health and wellness.
There’s no saying goodbye to Human Rabies and Dengue Fever of course. These are diseases that have become steady and are naturally endemic in the Southeast Asia especially in the Philippines all year round. But, let’s take a look at other common illnesses during the rainy days.
1. Common Colds or the Flu.
Yes, we can all relate. Common cold is an annoying type of illness that leaves one feeling all down and sick all over the body. It is caused by some of our unfriendly neighbors (Influenza Virus A, B or C) that are more easily transmitted during the rainy months because of the word “wet”. Everything around us drips, drops and soaks, making it easier for microorganisms to get from here to there.
- Frequent and proper handwashing
- Avoid touching anything communal (door knobs, railings etc)
- Have sanitizers or 70% alcohol on your satchel
- Boost your immune system with proper diet and throw in some supplements as professionally advised
- If you have the colds, always sneeze or cough in a napkin
- If you’re thinking natural, chicken soup seems to do the trick for many people but any hot soup feels soothing.
- Enough liquids especially water is good for you.
- If there’s nasal drip, there could also be clogged nose. Try some warm mist. Cover yourself in a towel with a tub of warm water below your face and inhale the mist. If you know a great concoction, you can add in some (ex. Peppermint)
- Headaches are another bother for common colds. When you sneeze and blow your nose too much, a headache may start to creep up on you and you’ll feel even worse. Many have soothing massage on the hands and back to help them relax and rest which is of course the best treatment for colds.
We get this all the time, anytime. But lo, we are reminded that our susceptibility rises with the rainy season because surroundings (surfaces, food and water) get easily contaminated. If you have loose stools more than 3 times a day, that’s medically defined as diarrhea. This illness may seem to be harmless until it drains you of your body fluids and dehydrates you. So, don’t underestimate this case especially when found among children and elderly.
- Wash hands properly.
- Ensure that the food and water you’re ingesting are safe.
- When you have diarrhea, fluid just seeps through when you defecate. That’s the real danger. So, of course fluid replacement is prime. And not just water but fluids with electrolytes such as sodium, potassium, magnesium among others in the form of Oral Rehydration Solution or ORS that are sold in the pharmacies. You can also make up your own if necessary with water, salt and sugar.
- Medications can be taken but experts that often it’s not necessary because most cases just resolve on their own. However, a doctor’s perspective should be sought in the following cases: blood in your feces, inability to drink or you vomit everything you take in by mouth, extreme dehydration and persistent high fever.
3. Typhoid Fever.
Caused by Salmonella Typhi, a bacteria,taken from contaminated food, water or feces, typhoid is another disease that can be avoided with the right precautions. However, if infected, a person manifests escalating fever, headache, constipation or diarrhea and body malaise. Some people may be healthy and yet carry the infection around.
- Get vaccinated against Typhoid Fever
- Proper handwashing and hygiene
- Proper food handling or avoid eating suspicious foods
- Have sanitizers or 70% alcohol on your satchel
- Antibiotics are the main treatment for Typhoid fever.
Another water-borne disease which includes 2 and 3 above. This potentially fatal disease caused by the Leptospira bacteria came from both domestic and wild animals. When a crack in the skin such as in a wound or a mucous membrane comes in contact with an infected animal, the bacteria can infect a person. Symptoms of Leptospirosis can be severe and includes high fever, severe headache, jaundice (yellowish skin discoloration), redness of the eyes, rashes, abdominal and other muscle pains.
- Avoid wading in puddles of rainwater unprotected.
- If you do get in contact with rainwater in the streets, swamps, lakes etc, wash your body properly with soap and water.
- Antibiotics is the main treatment for Leptospirosis.
- Other treatments are symptomatic and can include measures as lowering down fever and reducing pain
I personally remember playing in the rain as a kid. Everyone always anticipates the first fall or rain after a long beating summer. There’s no need to stop yourself from enjoying the rain and the cozy comfort that it brings. However, it’s always a must to be careful. Nowadays, one cannot afford to get sick especially since it’s the beginning of school again, the start of a new life or just the natural need to be fit and healthy. In this article, I wrote both the treatment and the prevention. But you know which one of the two to heed better, don’t you?
- Diarrhoea – Treatment Retrieved from http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Diarrhoea/Pages/Treatment.aspx
- INFOGRAPHIC: The Rainy Day Diseases. Retrieved from http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/nation/06/20/13/infographic-rainy-day-diseases
- Acute Diarrhea in Adults. Retrieved from http://www.patient.co.uk/health/acute-diarrhoea-in-adults-leaflet
- Typhoid Fever. Retrieved from http://www.who.int/topics/typhoid_fever/en/
- Typhoid Fever. Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/nczved/divisions/dfbmd/diseases/typhoid_fever/
- PAGASA confirms start of rainy season. Retrived from http://www.mb.com.ph/pagasa-confirms-start-of-rainy-season/
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