The monsoon season in Pakistan is upon us, and while that means rainy weather, fun outings with friends, and a welcome change from the unpleasant scorching heat, there are still some things you need to be cautious about.
The changing weather conditions bring with them a host of monsoon diseases that you need to avoid at all costs. Fortunately, there are certain ways in which you can keep yourself safe from these diseases and remain healthy during the rainy season.
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6 Common Monsoon Diseases in Pakistan
What are the most common monsoon diseases in Pakistan? A lot of different diseases can affect you in the monsoon season.
Here are 6 of the most common monsoon diseases in Pakistan:
1. Dengue Fever
Monsoon rains create stagnant pools of water which are the perfect breeding grounds for mosquitoes. This gives rise to diseases such as dengue. Dengue fever is caused by the dengue virus and is spread through the bite of mosquitoes belonging to the Aides species.
Dengue fever is a life-threatening disease that has claimed 257 lives in Lahore alone with 16,580 total number of reported cases since 2010 according to the World Health Organization (WHO) not to mention the 60 further deaths and 5000 cases reported in other cities of Pakistan.
One of the most common mosquito-borne diseases that can affect you in the monsoon season in Pakistan is malaria. Malaria is caused by a parasite and spread through the bite of a female Anopheles mosquito.
According to the Directorate of Malaria Control, in Pakistan 177 million people among the total population of 180 million are at risk of Malaria with an astonishing 3.5 million reported cases annually in Pakistan.
Diarrhea is an infectious disease that is characterized by loose or watery stools. Though the condition isn’t that serious and in most cases goes away in 2-3 days, it can sometimes be chronic, lasting for as long as 4 weeks. Diarrhea can be caused by bacteria, viruses, or parasites and is linked to the consumption of contaminated food or water.
The disease can also be life-threatening in children under 5 years of age. According to UNICEF, diarrhea is responsible for almost 1400 deaths in children every day, worldwide. Research on Health Care Use Patterns for Diarrhea in Children in Low-Income Periurban Communities of Karachi, Pakistan stated that 16% of all child deaths in Pakistan are caused by diarrhea.
4. Typhoid Fever
Typhoid fever is a bacterial infection caused by the Salmonella typhi bacteria and can be life-threatening. The disease is highly contagious and can be spread easily from person to person through the fecal-oral route. According to the World Health Organization, typhoid affects 11-20 million people worldwide, every year.
It is responsible for the deaths of 161,000 people annually. From 2016-2018 the total typhoid cases reported by the Provincial Disease Surveillance and Response Unit (PDSRU) in Sindh, Pakistan were 8188. The monsoon season in Pakistan is the ideal climate for the growth of typhoid bacteria. Rain can also damage water and sewage systems leading to food and water contamination which supplements the spread of typhoid.
5. Hepatitis A & E
Hepatitis A & E are liver diseases spread mainly through food and water contamination. Rainfall can increase the risk of monsoon diseases such as hepatitis A & E. Rainwater can cause gutters and pipelines to overflow which causes the sewage to seep through into water tanks and water supply lines.
Hepatitis is quite common in Pakistan and it was reported that 1 in 10 people in Pakistan has contracted some form of hepatitis.
Gastroenteritis or Stomach Flu is a viral infection that is especially common among the Pakistani population during monsoon season.
Gastro is contracted by coming into contact with an affected person or through the consumption of contaminated food or water. It is characterized by symptoms such as diarrhea, vomiting, fever, and nausea.
Tips to Prevent the Common Monsoon Diseases in Pakistan
It is advised to stay safe this monsoon season in Pakistan by taking all the necessary precautions for monsoon diseases like:
Practice Good Hygiene
Practicing good hygiene goes a long way. Apart from protecting you against monsoon diseases, they can also prevent numerous other illnesses and ailments.
You should give special attention to your hygiene during the monsoon season and wash your hands thoroughly before and after each meal and after using the toilet.
Keep Mosquitos Away
Mosquitoes are a major concern during the monsoon season in Pakistan as they thrive in stagnant water. Make sure of mosquito repellants, coils, and mats to keep mosquitoes away. When going outside it’s better to wear full-sleeve shirts to prevent mosquito bites.
Good Food for Good Health
Numerous monsoon diseases are spread through the consumption of contaminated food. You should therefore be extra cautious of what you eat during monsoon season to prevent being affected by monsoon diseases.
In the rainy season, it is important to stay away from street food as unhygienic and improperly cooked food may lead to many types of diseases that are caused by food contamination.
Drink Clean Water
During the monsoon season, water contamination becomes more common. To stay safe from water-borne diseases, it is advised to drink bottled or tap water.
Avoid Crowded Places
The monsoon season in Pakistan gives rise to contagious diseases that can be spread easily through contact. To reduce the risk of being affected by a deadly disease you should maintain a safe distance from others and stay away from crowded places like shopping malls, etc.
Taking proper precautions is the only way to protect prevent monsoon diseases during the rainy season. With the right safety measures, you can stay healthy during the monsoon season in Pakistan.
If you are affected by any disease during the monsoon season, it is recommended to consult an expert internal medicine specialist for the proper guidance and help regarding your health condition.