Health Tips: 10 Precautions to Take During the Monsoon to Prevent Viral Infections
The monsoons are not simply about alluring scenes and poetry. Waterlogging on the roads; mosquitoes trying to enter your mouth when you open it; pakoras fresh off the fire; and dank rooms are the ground reality of the rainy season. So, how do you make the most of the monsoons, and still prevent viral infections? The SARS-II virus, better known as Covid-19, has been terrorizing the general populace these two years. However, the risk of catching some kind of viral infection, especially during the monsoons, has existed since a long time.
- It Is Critical to Stay Dry
This might sound self-contradictory, but if you live in a region which experiences very heavy rainfall and has a humid climate, then it is all too easy for the rooms to become dank. A musty smell hangs heavy, and the fear of fungus spreading through clothes and upholstery is an unpleasant reality. You might want to invest in a dehumidifier, or use the blower of the air conditioner to dry out the rooms. It is all too easy for you or a loved one to develop breathing problems in a damp room. In a worst case scenario, the allergens hang around in the air. You begin sneezing in reaction to the allergens, and your family and/or your neighbours fear that you might have caught the coronavirus.
- Get out of wet clothes and wet footwear at the earliest: If you get caught in a downpour, get out of wet clothes and wet footwear at the earliest. If need be, always carry a change of clothes in a watertight bag when you go to the office. The alternative is to wear a raincoat, and carry an umbrella. When you stay in wet clothes for long, you run the risk of catching a cold as well as becoming more susceptible to viral infections.
- Stay Out of an Air Conditioned Room When You Are Drenched
This is axiomatic. Major temperature fluctuations make your body weak, and a magnet for all kinds of viral infections. So, you are rolling out the welcome mat for viral infections if you go into an air conditioned room without drying off first. If your office or home is centrally air conditioned, then at least make use of a dry towel to get rid of the excess moisture to prevent catching a cold.
- Wear Footwear Which Is Sturdy Rather Than Stylish
It is all too easy to slip and fall on wet roads. Those flimsy sandals and stiletto heels are best put away for summer days. Apart from the risk of injury, your feet get exposed to dirty water which could lead to nasty fungal infections. It is important to keep your feet dry and clean, especially in the monsoons. If you are diabetic, or have a compromised immune system, then you might want to invest in water resistant shoes or boots.
- Up the Ante on Hygienic Practices, Especially Personal Hygiene
In the monsoons, it is vital to place a premium on personal hygiene. Washing hands is only one aspect. You should be careful about wearing clean clothes, and washing your hair regularly to prevent any kind of infection from sticking to them. Keep your finger nails and toe nails clean. When cooking, wash utensils in running water before use. Ideally, wash your crockery and cutlery with purified water before serving food, or eating off them. Dry them with a disposable paper napkin. Never eat raw fruits or vegetables without first washing them thoroughly. You might even consider soaking fresh vegetables, especially leafy ones, in a potassium permanganate solution for 10-15 minutes before putting them in a bowl of ordinary water to dress them. Sanitize surfaces thoroughly daily, especially before and after cooking meals, or fixing snacks.
- Be Wary of Street Food
It is all easy to be exposed to different kinds of infections, especially stomach ’flu, when you eat contaminated food. Unfortunately, hygiene standards of street food like gol gappa is more conspicuous by its absence. Avoid eating fruits and vegetables which were chopped or cut quite a while ago, and which have been lying uncovered. You would be better off eating home cooked food in the rainy season, even when it is occasionally rather boring, or blander than you like. There are many ways to jazz up your food without compromising on your health. Potter around the kitchen, and indulge in experimentation with recipes, or food combinations. Dig into fresh salads, but avoid eating fresh greens raw. In the monsoons, various kinds of bacteria and viruses tend to cling to leaves, and the skin of vegetables.
- Boost Your Immunity to Keep Infection at Bay
The old saying cautions us that, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”. It is particularly relevant in the monsoons when all kinds of viral infection are hovering in the air to attack you. The best way to do so is to boost your immunity with the right choice of food and drinks. Ensure that you have an assortment of vegetables, protein sources like various kinds of daal, chickpeas, Bengal grams, kidney beans, sprouts, dairy products, fish, white meat, soy, and cereals like whole wheat, unpolished rice, and oats to get wholesome food, and build your immunity. Getting your daily quota of vitamins, especially Vitamin C, proteins, enzymes, and antioxidants through your food and drink will boost your body’s natural immunity to help you to keep viral infections at bay.
- Immunity Boosters in Your Kitchen
The dried and powdered edible root of the plant curcuma longa is known as turmeric, which is an intrinsic part of Indian cuisine. Most recipes include some measure of turmeric in it, but most people imagine it is for the appetizing color it imparts to the food. The ancient Indians understood the antiviral, anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, and antioxidant properties of turmeric, and incorporated its use into many foodstuffs. If you eat turmeric raw, then it will aid in clearing your blood of impurities, lowering your blood cholesterol levels while raising the haemoglobin count. Other immunity boosters in your kitchen include ginger, garlic, black cardamom, peppercorn, tulsi leaves, and cinnamon which are often added to different kinds of food preparations.
- Hydration Is Necessary to Flush Out All the Toxins in Your Body
You must drink sufficient water even in the monsoons to flush out the toxins which build up in the body. Ensure the water is safe by drinking only boiled, filtered, or treated water to prevent water borne viral infections like the different kinds of hepatitis, cholera, and typhoid. While freshly squeezed fruit juice and vegetable juice do help you get your quota of fluids, you must drink at least 8 glasses of plain water daily to ensure proper kidney function, and prevent urinary tract infections which seem to spurt in the rainy season. Hot soups, steaming cups of herbal infusions, masala tea, and even bowls of daal provide you with the necessary nourishment and warmth needed during the monsoons. Have hot soups, steaming cups of herbal infusions, masala tea, and even bowls of daal to provide you with the necessary nourishment and warmth needed during the monsoons, and rehydrate your body.
- Lifestyle Modifications
The least considered precaution to stave off viral infections is lifestyle. You must get sufficient sleep, and exercise regularly. Give up smoking tobacco, and avoid alcohol to keep up your immunity. Give junk food a miss. Of course, getting vaccinated against various viral infections is the best precaution you could possibly take.
- Stagnant Water Is Your Worst Enemy
It is normal for water to collect in old, unused tires, pots, and cans during the monsoons. Keep in mind that stagnant water is your worst enemy as it breeds vectors, and different kinds of infections. If you must store water in the kitchen and washroom, keep it covered.
Takeaway: You and your loved ones can stay healthy even during the monsoons as long as you take appropriate precautions.