Ordinarily, rain bring good tiding. It helps cultivated crops to grow, during planting season. It reduces the temperature and make people more comfortable, in the temperate clime.
However, there are some bad news about the rains. There many diseases associated with the rainy season, as it comes with its health hazards. Rain, however, has some positive effects.
For some, rains are favourable, while others look at its hazards mainly. Those who complain about heat likes the rains. Others complain about mosquitoes, malaria, elephantiasis, rift valley fever, yellow fever and dengue fever brought about by rain.
The rainy season takes its toll mostly on children who are between the ages of one and five years because of their tenderness and limited strength of their antibodies. According to World Health Organisation (WHO), malaria affect children more during the rainy season when the parasites are produced in generous quantity.
A Lagos medical doctor, Olalekan Sunday, said during rainy season, people have such viral infections as common cold referred to as catarrh, cough and so on. According to him, “many put their legs inside the water, thereby contracting foot disease. The most deadly of this act is that this flood might find its way into the well people use as a source of water. With this act, there may be epidemic outbreak such as cholera and others.
“Also there are people with adverse asthma attack. Asthma, which is a respiratory condition, is marked by spasms in the bronchi of the lungs, causing difficulty in breathing. It usually results from an allergic reaction or other forms of hypersensitivity.
“During rainy season, patients should know how to prevent or minimise attack. If your asthma attacks are triggered by an allergic reaction, avoid your triggers as much as possible. Keep taking your asthma medications after you are discharged. This is extremely important. Although the symptoms of an acute asthma attack go away after appropriate treatment, asthma itself never goes away.”
He added that rainy season also comes with many water-borne diseases, such as typhoid fever and so on. “This is due to people’s poor adherence to proper hygiene. Many engage in open defecation, and during rainy season, the flood gathers all these human faeces and other filth, which come in contact with humans,” he said.
Speaking further, he explained that rainy season brings lots of fun, greenery and cool climate with it. However, it also invites lots of health disorders that are not difficult in dealing with.
Sunday said: “You should be aware of certain quick remedies if you find the season challenging. Parents need to be extra careful during this season if their kids are allergic to it. Precaution should be the watchword to any health challenges in this season.
“The most common illness is related to respiratory system and water, food borne diseases should not be overlooked. Cold and flu are commonly found in rainy season and this is usually due to fluctuation in the atmosphere temperature.”
Common diseases associated with rainy season
This is an acute intestinal infection caused by ingestion of food or water contaminated with the bacterium Vibrio cholerae. People who eat food or drink water contaminated by these bacteria have a high chance of getting infected.
Signs: Sudden onset of frequent, painless watery stools, vomiting and rapid dehydration (sunken eyeballs, wrinkled and dry skin).
Prevention: Drink safe and clean water only. If unsure, boil drinking water (upon reaching boiling point, extend boiling for three or more minutes). You may also do water chlorination.
Keep food away from insects and rats by covering it and wash and cook food properly
Dispose human waste properly, use the toilet properly and clean it every day. Wash hands with soap and water after using the toilet and before eating.
Also keep surroundings clean to prevent files, other insects and rodents from breeding. The World Health Organisation’s (WHO) pre-qualified oral cholera vaccine is available for travellers and people in endemic areas. It is given in two doses and offers protection for years.
This is a virus that may be transferred from one person to another through the ingestion of food contaminated with human waste and urine of those who are already sick of Hepatitis A.
Signs: Fever, flu-like symptoms: weakness, muscle and joint aches, loss of appetite, dizziness (with or without vomiting), and abdominal discomfort and after a few days, jaundice may follow.
Prevention: Regular washing of hands after using the toilet, before preparing food, and before eating’ dispose human waste properly. Thoroughly cook oysters, clams, and other shellfish four minutes or steamed for one minute and 30 seconds and also practice safe handling and storage of food and water. The disease is self-limiting and may last for one to two weeks. Patient often recovers even without treatment.
This is an infectious disease, also known as enteric fever or just typhoid spreads through contaminated food and water or through close contact with someone who is infected.
Signs: Sustained high fever, headache, malaise, anorexia (loss of appetite), either diarrhea or constipation and abdominal discomfort.
Prevention: Avoid drinking untreated water; boil water for drinking (upon reaching boiling point, extends boiling for two or more minutes) or do water chlorination.
Cook food well and always cover food to prevent contamination from flies and other insects. Avoid eating unsanitary street-vended foods. Wash hands with soap and water after using the toilet and before eating. Keep surroundings clean to prevent breeding of flies and, above all, get immunised with WHO pre-qualified oral injectable vaccines.
Influenza is a viral infection that attacks the respiratory system. It is transmitted through contact with a person who coughs or sneezes, or with surfaces, material and clothing contaminated with the discharges of an infected person.
Young children, the elderly, pregnant women, and people who have weakened immune system are at risk to this disease.
Signs: Fever of at least 38c, headache runny nose, sore throat, cough and muscle or joint pains.
Prevention: Avoid crowded places. Cover mouth and nose when sneezing or coughing. Wash hands frequently, have annual flu vaccine and minimise contact and distance yourself by at least one meter from infected people.
This is a bacterial infection transmitted when urine and faeces of infected animals, such as rodents, contaminate the soil, water, and vegetation.
A person may get leptospirosis by ingesting contaminated food or water, through broken skin and open wounds, or when eyes, nose, sinuses and mouth come in contact with contaminated water (usually flood water) or soil. Incubation period of bacteria is 7-10 days.
Signs: Fever, muscle pain, headache, calf-muscle pain and reddish eyes. For severe cases (liver/brain involvement or kidney failure), yellowish body discoloration, dark-colored urine, light stools, low urine output and severe headache.
Prevention: avoid swimming or wading in floodwater; use boots and gloves, drain potentially contaminated water; control rodents in the household by using rattraps or rat poison and above all maintain cleanliness in the house.