India typically experiences an annual monsoon season between July to September. Along with the freshness, the rain brings diseases in monsoon-like Malaria, Cholera, Dengue, Chikungunya, and other fatal diseases or infections that can pose a serious range of health threats for everyone!
The risk of being exposed to multiple bacterias, viruses, and infections is two times higher during the monsoon season compared to any other season. The high moisture content present in the air enables harmful microorganisms to flourish, resulting in the transmission of monsoon diseases.
The Ayurveda divides the year into six seasons: Shishira, Vasanta, Grishma, Varsha, Sharad, and Hemant. Seasons’ division is based on the sun's movement into the northern and southern academic positions. It is called Adana Kaal (Uttarayana) and Visharga Kaal (Dakshinayana), consisting of six months on each side. During Adana Kaal, the physical strength of human beings reduces, and during Visarga Kaal, the physical energy of human beings enhances.
In Adana Kala, the sun and wind are powerful. During this period, the sun takes away the cooling qualities of the earth. Due to the sun's scorching heat, the strength of the creatures diminishes. In contrast, in Visharga Kala, the sun releases strength to the people by empowering the moon, and the earth becomes cool due to the clouds, rains, and cool winds.
Hence, the Varsha Ritu, or starting of the monsoon is the indicator for the beginning of Visharga Kala and restoration of lost strength during Adan Kala (Shishir, Vasanta, and Grishma Ritus).
Ayurveda describes aggravation (vitiation) of Vata (Air) and accumulation of Pitta (Fire) dosha in Varsha Ritu (rainy/monsoon season). This is the major cause of various diseases occurring during the rainy season. The food and lifestyle should thus be such, which helps in balancing Vata and Pitta doshas.
The most common diseases in monsoons are transmitted through these 4 major mediums: Water, Mosquitoes, Air, and Contaminated food.
● Typhoid is caused by Salmonella Typhi bacteria, a water-borne disease that spreads because of poor sanitation. The primary causes of Typhoid are eating uncovered food and drinking contaminated water. Symptoms include a headache, fever, sore throat, and joint pain.
● Cholera is also caused due to consumption of contaminated food and poor sanitation and is followed by loose motion or diarrhea.
● Gastrointestinal infections like vomiting, diarrhea, and gastroenteritis are caused due to the consumption of uncovered, stale, or contaminated food and water. It is advisable to keep all foods covered before consumption and boil/filter water before drinking to avoid stomach infections.
● Malaria, one of the major health concerns in India, is caused by the biting of the female Anopheles mosquito. which is one of the major health concerns in India during monsoons. It is the breeding season for mosquitoes. They breed in water channels and streams. For several days, all malaria patients suffer from chills with high fever (up to 104 °C).
● Dengue causing mosquito Aedes Aegypti breeds in stagnant water (such as drums, buckets, flower pots, old tires, wells, and tree holes). Its symptoms include fever with chills and rigour, body ache, and fatigue.
● Chikungunya is caused by the Aedes Albopictus mosquito and is a non-fatal viral disease. These mosquitoes lay eggs in stagnant water, and they can bite you during the night and the day. Chikungunya means ‘which bends up’ and is called so because of its distinct arthritic symptoms (stiffness and pain in the bones and joints ).
● Flu and Cold, the most common viral infections, are caused due to the sudden change in temperatures during the monsoon times. A weak immune system makes us more prone to these minor infections and is associated with a sore throat, running nose, watery eyes, chills, and fever.
● Influenza is one of the most common diseases in monsoon times, and it spreads easily from one person to another and is essentially transmitted through the air and droplets.
Here are some preventive measures which include diet, and lifestyle changes that help to prevent monsoon diseases:
Water available in the reservoirs during monsoon is comparatively heavy to digest, and the metabolism is sluggish during this period. An individual is likely to experience a loss of appetite.
Hence following changes in diet and lifestyle is advisable during monsoon:
Consumption of a healthy diet only may not provide desired results unless it is supported by a lifestyle beneficial for monsoon.
Following are the tips for the important changes that we can make to our lifestyles during the rainy /monsoon season:
1. Applying a paste of hing (Asafoetida) or boiling hing water in and around the navel is known to relieve stomach pain and infection.
2. Intake of Golden milk (Haldi milk), concoctions, and warm foods strengthen the body's immunity. One may also try Yogasanas like Shalabasana, and pranayama like kapalbhati to improve respiratory health.
3. Take 1 glass of Papaya or Giloy juice daily as they increase platelet count and improve immunity, especially if infected by Dengue, which can result in a drop in the platelet count
4. Hulba/Methi (Fenugreek leaves) can be taken as a herbal tea to reduce fever. This drink acts as a soothing and cleansing agent for the human system.
It helps to increase immunity and is an effective medicine for Typhoid.
Dose - 1 tablespoon twice a day with water or lukewarm milk
It helps to promote digestion, increase appetite and cure all types of digestion-related issues.
Dose - 3 tablespoons twice a day.
As the humidity in the atmosphere is high during monsoons, the body's digestive capability goes down. During such times, the consumption of Triphala helps bring the digestive processes back to normal.
Dose - 1 tablespoon at bedtime with warm water.
For situational, seasonal, and immune system support, it provides nourishing, plant-based ingredients to reinforce the body's own ability to find balance and wellness. It helps to cure all types of monsoon diseases
Dose - 1 tablet once a day
Please find below the infographic on “Common Diseases in Monsoon & Prevention Tips”. Feel free to use this infographic but make sure to cite us at www.healthybazar.com.
Seasonal changes and infectious disease occurrence are likely to be influenced by population vulnerability and behaviors. However, environmental influences are also imperative considerations. The monsoon season impacts the profusion of pathogens, especially in people with a risk of infection. People should be made aware of the importance of appropriate accommodation ventilation, cleanness, etc. In this regard, alternate therapeutic protocols have been followed to improve the quality of life by following potential treatment options in Unani and Ayurveda medicines.