The relentless rains have already begun lashing parts of the country and the India Meteorological Department (IMD) has recently confirmed that the monsoons are likely to start earlier than usual with their expected arrival in less than two weeks.
With the deadly second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in full swing, all our attention is trained on the virus, but the change in season is always a good time to remind ourselves to pay attention to our overall health.
1. Carry replacement masks
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that a wet mask is less effective at filtering and harder to breathe through. So if you’re heading out and it's likely to rain, make sure you have a spare mask.
2. Boost your immune system
Ensure that you’re including foods that are rich in Vitamin C such as citrus fruits and leafy green vegetables in your diet. Foods like fatty fish, dairy, and fortified veg products can also provide Vitamin D which can help reduce your risk of common infections.
3. Check for stagnant water
Waterlogging is common during rainy days and can become a breeding ground for mosquitoes which can, in turn, cause a whole host of issues ranging from malaria to dengue. Keep mosquitos out of your home as much as possible.
4. Get out of damp clothing
If your clothing is wet either due to limited sunlight or because you got out of the rain, change out of it immediately. Prolonged exposure to damp clothing can increase your risk of contracting ringworm infections, yeast infections and worsen existing skin conditions. You can also try ironing your clothes if they aren’t air-drying as usual.
5. Avoid extreme temperature change
Try not to enter air-conditioned rooms immediately when you come from outside, especially if you’re soaking wet. Air conditioners can blast cold air at you and the sudden temperature changes can lower your body’s natural defenses and also constrict blood vessels in the nose and throat.
6. Don’t panic
The change of weather can often bring with it a host of symptoms including cold, chest congestion, sore throat and cough. Unfortunately, these are also similar to the ones associated with COVID-19. If you do experience any of these, don’t panic but don’t delay consulting a doctor either. Find a slot to get yourself tested if you suspect you may have contracted the virus.
7. Don’t forget to sanitize
While COVID-19 may have made us more aware of the need to constantly sanitize our hands, we need to double our efforts in the monsoon. Make sure you’ve washed your feet and legs as well if you’ve been walking through rainwater on the streets. Adding a mild disinfectant to your bath water can also help.
8. Stay physically active
If your outdoor walks and activities have been reduced due to the rains, don’t let that get you down. Find ways to stay active indoors, you could also use this time to experiment with new fitness routines including HIIT (high-intensity interval training) or yoga.
9. Don’t forget to hydrate
Your thirst could be impacted during the monsoon because we aren’t sweating as much. But, you still need to drink at least two liters of water a day. You can either keep reminders on your phone or use a large bottle to keep track of your water intake.
Although most of us like to enjoy the monsoon months, with the current state of public health, it would be in everyone’s best interest to remain safe indoors as much as possible. Grab that hot cup of chai, eat your favorite snacks and stay home!
(Edited by Amrita Ghosh)