17 health tips for monsoon to ‘waterproof’ yourself against diseases and infections

Follow these basic but important health tips for monsoon, and keep diseases and infections away even as you enjoy the rain.
A woman enjoying the rain
The monsoons come as a respite from the hear but bring with them a host of infections as well. Image courtesy: Pexels
Anjuri Nayar Singh Published: 8 Jul 2024, 12:00 pm IST
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Is the monsoon season turning misty with the constant bout of cold, cough or fever for you? Monsoon is one of the most common time in the year for infections and illnesses to surface. This may even turn more severe due to the abundance of water-borne diseases as well as diseases caused due to mosquito bites. Keeping certain simple health tips for monsoon in mind can help you prevent the side effects of the season and stay healthy.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), more than 3.4 million people fall sick due to water-borne diseases such as typhoid and cholera. There are some simple, yet very useful tips to keep yourself, as well as your skin, hair and your mental health in check during the monsoon.

Why do we fall sick during monsoon?

The monsoon season comes with its set of health challenges. There are several reasons why we fall sick. “The high moisture content in the air allows germs to thrive while heavy downpours can pollute water sources. Dengue is spread by mosquitoes that breed in stagnant water that pools in places due to the rain. Moreover, our immunity is weakened by sudden temperature drops and reduced Vitamin D production due to lesser sunlight exposure,” explains internal medicine specialist Dr Suchismitha Rajamanya.

There is also a greater chance of catching illnesses such as cold and sore throat as people tend to stay indoors in close quarters during monsoon showers.

Health tips for monsoon

Monsoon brings with it a much-needed respite from the harsh summer but also various illnesses. Here are some tips that will help stay healthy during monsoon:


1. Drink Safe Water

The heavy rain during monsoon can contaminate water sources. Boil or purify your drinking water. Consider carrying a reusable water bottle. According to the WHO, about one million people die each year due to diarrhoea as a result of unsafe drinking water, sanitation and hand hygiene.

2. Don’t skip liquids

Cooler weather might make you feel less thirsty, but adequate hydration is crucial. Opt for warm water with lemon or herbal teas. Staying hydrated is one of the best ways to combat the humidity that comes with the rainfall. Sweating is the body’s natural way to cool itself, and this can cause dehydration and fluid loss, states the National Institutes of Health.

3. Consume probiotics

Include yoghurt, buttermilk, and fermented foods in your diet. Probiotics promote gut health, aiding digestion and immunity. A study published in Molecules states that the consumption of probiotics leads to a healthy gut, and that can improve immunity. Monsoon can cause a lot of infections and a good immunity is sure to help you.

Rainfall from a window
During monsoon the air is humid, and this become a breeding ground for bacteria. Image courtesy: Paxels

4. Eat fresh, cooked food

Wash fruits and vegetables thoroughly before consumption. Avoid pre-cut options and cook food hygienically to eliminate germs. Many foodborne diseases are common during monsoon, and cooking the food well can eliminate these risks.

5. Skip street food

The monsoon season can compromise hygiene practices with street vendors. Opt for home-cooked meals or choose vendors with good hygiene practices. Contaminated water, stagnant water as well as power outages can often lead to food getting spoilt. Cooking food at home can ensure that this does not happen.

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6. Seasonal fruits and vegetables

Include seasonal fruits and vegetables that are rich in vitamin C. Guava, amla (Indian gooseberry), and leafy greens (properly cleaned) are healthy options to consume as these may boost your immune system. According to a study published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition, an increased consumption of seasonal fruits and vegetables is associated with a greater intake of essential vitamins and minerals.

7. Warm spices

Add ginger, garlic, turmeric, and cloves in your cooking. These age-old spices have natural anti-inflammatory and immunity-boosting properties. These spices can make the immune system stronger and help you to fight diseases.

8. Limit junk food

Avoid processed foods and sugary drinks also avoid consuming food from street vendors. These can weaken your immune system. A healthy immune system will get you through the monsoon, illness-free.

9. Increase vitamin D and vitamin C intake

Consider consulting a doctor about Vitamin D supplements, especially if you don’t get enough sunlight. This is very essential, especially during monsoon. You should also focus on consuming foods that are rich in vitamin C. These will help you build your immunity.

10. Wash your hands frequently

Wash hands thoroughly with soap and water before eating, after using the washroom, and after coming indoors from outdoors. According to the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, handwashing with soap may reduce the risk of respiratory illnesses by 16 per cent and diarrhoea by 48 per cent.

11. Use mosquito repellents

Dengue and malaria are prevalent during monsoon. Use mosquito repellents containing DEET and wear long sleeves and pants when venturing out during dusk and dawn. A study published in the journal Current Biology found that DEET disrupts the mosquito’s olfactory system, making it difficult for them to find humans.

A woman enjoying the rain
While you may enjoy the rains, make sure to not go over board in doing so. Also, change out of damp clothes as soon as possible. Image courtesy: Pexels

12. Avoid proximity to stagnant water

Mosquitoes breed in stagnant water. Empty coolers, flower pots, and other potential breeding grounds around your house should be removed before the monsoon arrives. This can help avoid a lot of mosquito-bite diseases such as malaria and dengue.

13. Exercise regularly

Even moderate exercises indoors like yoga or bodyweight workouts can keep you active and boost immunity. A study, published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, states that moderate-intensity exercise increased the circulation of immune cells for several hours after the workout.

14. Get enough sleep

Aim for 7-8 hours of sleep each night. Adequate sleep strengthens your immune system and helps your body fight off infections. A study, published in Sleep, observed that participants who slept for less than 7 hours per night were three times more likely to develop a cold compared to those who slept for 8 hours or more.

15. Dry clothes properly

Damp clothes can harbour mould. Dry them thoroughly in sunlight or a well-ventilated area. Damp clothes can lead to skin irritation or even rashes. Monsoon can lead to damp homes. Use dehumidifiers or ensure proper ventilation to prevent mould growth. Mould spores can cause respiratory problems such as allergic rhinitis (hay fever), asthma exacerbation, and hypersensitivity pneumonitis, states this study, published in the Journal for Immunotherapy Cancer.

16. Keep an umbrella or raincoat handy

Being prepared for sudden downpours helps avoid getting drenched and falling sick. Therefore make sure you have your rain gear with you all the time.

17. Wear waterproof footwear

It is very important to protect your feet from puddles and dampness. This can be done with waterproof shoes. These shoes won’t get ruined in the rain as well.

Takeaway

It is very important to remain healthy during the monsoon. These common health tips for monsoon include protecting yourself from mosquitoes, drinking clean water, keeping yourself hydrated, and building your immunity. You should also make sure to eat well-cooked food and avoid junk.

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About the Author

Anjuri Nayar Singh has over 12 years of experience in writing for various topics including lifestyle, films, television and OTT. She also writes on art and culture, education and human interest stories. ...Read More

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