It’s Monsoon – the season for colourful umbrellas and waterproof jackets. It’s the season for trekking, picnics, and hot cuppa ginger tea. It’s the season of cloud-laden sky when the greenery returns to the garden and there is a respite from the scorching heat of the summer.
But the monsoon season is a mixed blessing. It also brings with it some health ailments like cold, cough, sore throat, allergies, and stomach problems. One of the common problems affecting people during this season is the viral flu. Every year, millions of people fall prey to the wrath of the terrible flu, also popularly termed as Influenza. According to a study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 5% to 20% of the population in the United States is affected by the flu each year and as many as 2,00,000 people need to be hospitalized every year for flu-related complications. There are a lot of cases where the effect of the flu becomes severe and increases the risk of diseases such as malaria and dengue. Very severe cases of flu, malaria or dengue can also prove to be fatal.
The numbers just go to say that you must not take cases of cold, cough and fever lightly. The condition might seem ordinary at first but the chances of it turning into a severe case of a serious disease are also high. And as goes the popular saying, ‘Prevention is better than cure’. Small practices such as eating healthy and working on ways to increase your immunity can make a lot of difference to your lifestyle and avoid quite a few health-related hassles in the future. Here are some basic measures you can take:
- Avoid close contact with anybody who is sick. Germs and bacteria carrying the flu are extremely contagious and can spread majorly through inhalation of air. Keep your distance from people when you are sick to avoid spreading the virus.
- When you are sick, stay at home as much as you can and stay warm. Being in a public place makes it very difficult to isolate yourself from people and keep them away from the infection. Staying at home will also provide you with the best comfort and rest so that your body can recover quickly. By resting, you will help your body in fighting the infection.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue paper or handkerchief when you are sick and need to sneeze. This will prevent the germs from spreading all around you.
- Wash your hands as often as possible and keep them clean. For those of us who are out in the open most of the time and end up making contact with a lot of dirty and unhygienic items, washing hands with a good soap will help you get rid of the bacteria. In case of unavailability of soap, use a sanitizer or any alcohol-based rub.
- Practice healthy eating habits. Eat foods that will provide you with enough vitamins, proteins and minerals, and will help build up your immunity. Drink a lot of water. Fluids help in detoxifying your body. Fluids also help thin mucus so that it’s is expelled easily.
- Try home remedies like drinking a cup of ginger tea, having honey in tea with lemon, adding garlic supplement to your diet, and gargling with salt water.
- Get a flu vaccine. Flu vaccination can reduce illnesses, doctors’ visits and days of missing work to a large extent as well as avoid cases of hospitalization. It is recommended that everyone who is six months or older must get a flu vaccine.
Flu symptoms include cold, cough, fever, sore throat, runny nose, headache, body ache, chills, and fatigue. In severe cases, the patient may even suffer from vomiting and diarrhoea. Check for these symptoms and visit a doctor to get prescribed medicines and start the treatment. Absolutely avoid self medication.
Changes in weather conditions is a phenomenon that occurs naturally and nobody can stop the adverse effects it causes to our body. Taking good care of ourselves, eating right and leading a balanced lifestyle is what will help us in staying fit and healthy in the long run.