While the first showers of rain are usually a sigh of relief, heavy rainfall and usher of the monsoon fury jeopardizes both health and work. Like each year, this monsoon season has also brought with it numerous cases of monsoon illness  which have been ranging from mild cold and coughs to severe infections and increasing hospitalizations. Taking adequate precautions and staying informed are one of the best ways to avoid monsoon-related ailments.

Some of the most common medical monsoon ailments include viral fever, the Common cold, Malaria, Dengue, Typhoid, Hepatitis A, Diarrhoea, Leptospirosis, and Chikungunya Fever. The viral infections are high in monsoons  due to  damp and humid weather, which is a  perfect environment for bacterial and viral growth. Patients with pre-existing respiratory diseases such as Asthma and COPD are also more prone to respiratory exacerbations requiring treatment escalation and sometimes even hospitalizations due to pneumonia.

Common cold /flu: Common cold is the most common, seasonal disease resulting in work absenteeism and quick transmission. Several viruses are responsible for cold infections including influenza virus (also called flu). Symptoms include low-grade fever, runny nose, nasal blockage , generalized body aches and poor appetite.

How to prevent:

  • The common cold spreads quickly through contact. So, wash your hands often and prevent contact with people who have the cold
  • Change hand towels each day
  • Practice cough hygiene, cover mouth and nose
  • Take flu vaccines each year
  • Boost your immunity by eating fresh fruits and veggies

Malaria: One of the most common monsoon-related disease, malaria, is caused by bite of  Anopheles mosquitoes breeding in dirty water. It is characterised by fever with chills , body ache and sweating. If untreated, severe form can lead to jaundice, liver and kidney failure. 

How to prevent: 

  • Stagnant water acts as a breeding ground for mosquitoes — ensure that your locality and house is kept as clean as possible.
  • Use mosquito screens, nets, meshes or insect repellent screens for your windows and apply a mosquito repellent.

Typhoid : Typhoid is usually suspected in prolonged and high-grade fevers lasting for more than five days. Common symptoms include headache, diarrhoea, and abdominal pain.The infection mostly spreads via contaminated food and water. 

How to prevent: 

  • To avoid typhoid, avoid eating outside food as much as possible.
  • Keep houseflies away from house
  • Typhoid vaccines are also available for adults and children above 2 yrs

Dengue Fever: Dengue is also a mosquito-borne viral infection. The infection causes flu-like illness with fever, severe joint pains (also called breakbone fever), malaise and typical skin rash. Dengue fever may be accompanied with decreasing platelet counts which should be closely watched and conservatively managed in most patients.The disease self subsides in 7-10 days.  However, it can  occasionally develop into a potentially lethal complication called Dengue Haemorrhagic Fever/Dengue shock Syndrome.

How to prevent:

  • The dengue mosquito (Aedes/Tiger mosquito) is easily recognizable by its appearance
  • To avoid bite by this mosquito  avoid collection of clean water in and around your home and use mosquito repellents and keep yourself covered .
  • Stay hydrated, take adequate rest
  • Avoid use of pain medicines like ibuprofen during dengue season. Take only paracetamol for fever and consult your doctor.

Hepatitis A: This viral disease spreads through contaminated food and water and symptoms include fever, body ache, loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting. Jaundice manifests as yellow tinge in the eyes, skin and urine discolouration. 

How to prevent: One of the best ways to avoid hepatitis A is to stick to eating homemade food and drinking clean water. 

Leptospirosis: One of the common monsoon ailments, leptospirosis is mostly caused by walking in dirty water with higher chances of infection especially in patients with skin injuries. It was once a cause of a major epidemic in Mumbai floods. This bacterial disease is spread by rat urine  and symptoms include high fever and chills with severe headaches and body ache, followed by nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pain. Severe cases can have respiratory distress and may need ICU admissions.

As much as possible, avoid stepping into dirty water. And if  unavoidable, take a bath as soon as you reach home. If you have injuries, cover them well.

Diarrhoea: Diarrhoea can be  caused by food contaminated with bacteria or parasites(food poisoning).


  • Try to rest more and switch to a diet of clear liquids. 
  • If you have nausea, take small sips of fluid frequently. As you begin to feel better, start eating semi-solid foods gradually to prevent stomach cramps. 
  • Antidiarrhoeal medicines and antibiotics may be needed in severe cases. Maintain hydration to avoid hospitalization

Chikungunya fever: Caused by a virus, it is transmitted by the bite of the Aedes Aegypti mosquito, which bites during the day and can cause severe persistent joint pain as well as fever and rash. Specific drugs or vaccine for treatment of chikungunya fever are not available. Therefore, people with chikungunya fever are treated symptomatically. It is a self-limiting disorder and the symptoms will reduce on its own within few days.

Take care and stay aware this monsoon season.

Happy Monsoons!!!