Sunday, September 9, 2012

Dancing in the rain
Dr Madan M Vasandani
 The day had ended, the kids are asleep and it was time for me to unwind. I seated myself on my sofa and turned on the TV flipping through the channels. I reached an Indian channel and one of my favorite movies was playing. Like all Indian movies, this one had an outdoor scene with a beautiful Indian actress singing her lungs out while dancing in the rain with minimum clothing. The first thing that flickered in my mind (remember I am a doctor) was “Wouldn’t she catch a cold?” Well, believe it or not, that beautiful actress dancing in the rain was my inspiration to write this article. With the rainy season just at the horizon, we should all be prepared to ensure that we do not become sick. Here are some tips to prevent you and your family from acquiring common illnesses during the rainy season

 1.    Ensure your vaccinations are up-to-date The common vaccine preventable illnesses that surfaces during the rainy season are Hepatitis A, Typhoid and Influenza. The belief that vaccines weaken the immunity is a false one; on the contrary, it enhances your immunity. Bacteria and viruses tend to proliferate in damp and dark situations. Because of this our body is exposed to higher numbers of these organisms during the rainy season. Getting vaccinated adds on to our already present natural defense mechanism. Hence, to ensure that you experience a cozy and comfortable rainy season without interruptions of infections ensure you get vaccinated.

2.    Keep your surroundings clean and DRY – If you have lived in Indonesia for a long time then you would’ve realized that Indonesian mosquitoes have become extremely sophisticated in developing strategies to sink their blood sucking needle into human flesh. So much so, that no Hollywood vampire movie could ever hope to relive it. In Indonesia, Dengue fever is most common during the end of summer and the beginning of the rainy season. After reading this article make sure you go around your house and look for places where rainwater can collect. Get rid of these potential “water dams”. Remember mosquitoes that carry the dengue virus breed in “stagnant clean water”. Keep the mosquito population in check by keeping your house clean and ensuring that all windows are protected with mosquito nets. The Dengue mosquito tends to bite between dusk and dawn.  Hence ensure that you close your windows and doors at around 5 pm and keep it closed till about 7 am. This is one of the best strategies to bring down the mosquito population in your house.  Buy the ever useful ‘electrocution’ racket and make sure it’s fully charged to give you the pleasure of electrocuting mosquitoes.

3.    Be as tough as old BOOTS– How many times have you heard or experienced a fall due to a slippery surface? Statistics prove that the number of fractures is highest during the rainy season. Ensure you wear proper footwear when you decide to walk down the treacherous sidewalks of Jakarta. Make sure you dry slippery surfaces, especially areas near doors where water tends to collect after a rainy day. Your house should also be equipped with non-slip mats. All this will minimize the risk of accidents during the rainy season.

  4.    Wash, washandwash – One of the most common diseases that the rainy season delivers is Gastroenteritis (more commonly referred to as the stomach flu). The reason for this is compromised hygiene which commonly happens at this time. Be especially careful of the vegetables that you buy. Ensure you purchase your vegetables from a reliable clean source. Wash the vegetables thoroughly under running warm water before cooking it. Wash your hands regularly as your hands can be a source of disease. Make sure you encourage your children and house staff to always wash their hands. Maintaining hygiene is of utmost importance especially during the rainy season.

5.    Go HERBAL!! An excellent home remedy to stay healthy during the entire rainy season is to drink herbal tea. Include a number of body warming contents in this tea like pepper, cloves, ginger, mint, basil and other traditional ingredients. In a recent study, Japanese scientists found mixing a half a teaspoon of salt into 8 ounces of warm water, then gargling for at least 10 seconds twice daily reduces a person’s risk of viral infections as much as 34 percent. Consume half a cup of broccoli three to four times weekly to boost your white blood cell function. A clove of garlic a day can boost your ability to fight off flu viruses in as little as two weeks.
Personally, I love the rainy season. The thought of sitting at home sipping on a cup of mint tea with my family gives that warm sensation that the rainy season usually brings. The traffic in Jakarta will be bad, work may pile up and the floods may finally arrive but all this should not disturb this wonderful season. Stay warm and keep healthy to ensure a joyous rainy season.

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