The monsoon season is crucial for India as the rains affect the agricultural produce and yield of crops. Many dams, rivers and water reservoirs in India are fed by rains during this season. However, it is irrefutable that the season is also a harbinger of water-borne diseases such as typhoid, cholera, diarrhoea, bacillary and amoebic dysentery, and hepatitis. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has already identified contaminated drinking water as a critical public health issue in the country and has estimated that over 98,000 children suffer from acute diarrhoea and other water-borne diseases every year. In the year 2018, 2,439 people died because of the four major water-borne diseases - cholera, typhoid, acute diarrhoeal diseases (ADD) and viral hepatitis; while more than 1.3 crore people fell sick with these diseases. Generally, the tap water in our homes is not fit for drinking. Despite the best efforts of the water supplying authorities, water gets contaminated while flowing in pipelines for miles before reaching our home or due to the extra burden on water treatment facilities because of high level of contaminants in source water during the monsoon season.
Read on to understand how to safeguard the health of your family from life-threatening diseases during this season.
Stay wary of consuming water from contaminated sources
Water, before reaching your tap, undergoes a stringent treatment process. After this, it travels a long journey through various old, unclean, leaking, and corroded pipes. Apart from this, waterlines carrying treated water are without pressurised water for more than 20 hours a day in our cities. Without water, the gradient in pipelines also creates a vacuum, which may result in pulling in unhygienic material, in case there is a leaking joint. The probability of such accidents in pipelines is always high in monsoon due to water logging.
Hence, the water in your home's tank may have impurities, which an ordinary tap filter cannot remove. This water may be fit for washing or bathing but it is certainly not fit for drinking. It becomes increasingly important to drink water that has been boiled or is from a trusted source such as a water purifier. Additionally, as contaminants build up in the filter over time, it is imperative to maintain and get your water purifier regularly serviced.
Focus on your immune system
In the monsoon season, people tend to fall sick more frequently. The reason for this spur is waterlogging due to rains, which increases the chances of mosquito breeding that acts as a vector for life-threatening diseases. Alternatively, seepage of rainwater through different points leads to water contamination. The season is also favourable for the growth/ multiplication of microorganisms. This results in higher incidence of communicable diseases due to direct consumption of contaminated water or food prepared with such water.
If consumed for longer periods, this water may damage vital organs like liver, kidneys, bladder and lungs.
To prevent mosquito breeding, do not allow water to stagnate around your home or adulterate the water with kerosene oil. Also, it is advised to wear full-sleeved clothes and use a mosquito repellent on exposed body parts.
As a precautionary measure, one should eat home-cooked food and avoid street food during this season. Make sure that raw fruits and veggies are properly cleaned with hygienic water before cooking or consumption. Also, consume immunity-boosting foods such as nuts, hot soups, probiotics, broccoli, turmeric, garlic, ginger, citrus fruits, green leafy vegetables, etc. Additionally, drinking alkaline water over regular water is beneficial for overall health too since it is known to have many immunity-boosting properties.
Follow hygiene practices
As the pandemic and the monsoon season coincide, maintaining hygiene today is paramount. Stay extra hygienic to keep harmful infections and diseases at bay. Add a few drops of antiseptic liquid in water while taking your daily shower and take a shower as soon as you reach home. Make sure you wash your hands properly before and after your meal, after using the washroom, sneezing, or coughing or petting, etc. Avoid walking in dirty water on the streets and in case that happens, make sure to wash your feet as soon as you reach your home. Also, stay wary of wet walls as they are laden with infection causing fungi.
Exercise regularly at home
As the gyms across the nation stay shut due to the ongoing pandemic, you should do your exercise routine at home to stay fit and healthy. As you might not be able to go for your walks or runs on a regular basis due to the rains, it might be a good time to invest in an indoor cycle or treadmill as they will help you stay on track of your fitness schedule. Simple exercises such as push-ups, squats, and lunges could be practiced at home to enhance muscular strength. You should also practise Yoga as it aids in reducing respiratory problems which are a common affliction during the monsoon season.
About the author: Dr Suresh Sisodia is a veteran in the water purification industry with an experience stretching over three decades. Prior to joining Havells as Sr. Vice President (Water Purification) in 2016, he was associated with brands such as Aquaguard, AquaSure, Forbes, Livpure and Euroclean. His educational qualifications include a doctoral degree in ‘Pollution modelling of Upper Ganga basin' from the Indian Institute of Technology, Roorkee.