The gloomy side of monsoon
This is how I picture an ideal rainy day - me sitting on a cosy couch, tucked inside a warm blanket with a cup of hot tea in one hand and a plate of sinful munchies in the other. And in the background, nature’s soulful music of raindrops drum on the windowpanes. Absolutely blissful!
Rains may indeed bring the muchneeded heavenly respite from the heat, but it’s also an open invitation to many waterborne and airborne infections, some of which may even be life threatening.
As the weather swings from being hot to cold on rainy days, our body’s temperature fluctuates too. These variations can affect our immunity, making us more vulnerable to microbial attack. This is the reason why so many people fall sick when it rains.
The rainy day spoilers
Both bacteria and viruses can cause infections all year round, but some of these microbes become particularly active during the monsoons. There could be many reasons for the increased infection – the cold, the growth of germs in stagnant water, mixing of clean and infected water, decreased immunity and easily transmissible nature of these infections.
The common illnesses seen during the splashes of rain are respiratory infections (like flu), bacterial infections (like diarrhoea and cholera) and vector borne infections (like Dengue and Malaria).
These illnesses are an inevitable part of rainy days, but we can beat them by staying on guard at all times. Physical fitness, balanced nutritional diets, ample supply of fluids and a strong immune system will go a long way in protecting you.
Tiny Agents of Terror
Viruses are the primary culprits for monsoon-linked upper respiratory tract infections like cold and cough. Often we take these infections for granted, because they seem to resolve on their own. But viral infections could get very serious as they can open the doors to bacterial infections, especially those of the lower respiratory tract (such as pneumonia).
Of the rainy day viral infections, cold and cough are very common. Small viruses that belong to the Rhinovirus family cause most of these infections, which occur in varying degrees of severity, depending upon your body’s defence mechanism.
Common cold and cough viruses are very contagious and they spread easily from one infected person to another. These are usually airborne germs and are spread through the air if an infected person sneezes or coughs in the presence of other healthy people.
These viruses can also be transmitted by using the same utensils, touching the same doorknobs, sharing work stations or computers, sleeping together, kissing or having other physical contacts with the infected.
Cold and cough explained
To deal with cold and cough, we need to understand them first. Common cold and cough are categorised as respiratory infections, which begin when the culprit virus attaches to your nose or throat. This attachment will send a signal to your body’s defence mechanism, which will immediately deploy the army of soldiers (white blood cells).
When an old strain of virus attacks for a second time, the white blood cells can immediately get rid of them. However, if a new strain attacks, the army of white blood cells will be rendered useless by the virus. The body will then signal an alarm and more soldiers pour into the site of infection.
The extra dose of defence will cause your throat to be inflamed and the entire respiratory tract becomes filled with mucus. This inflammation and mucous secretion is what produces the nasal congestion and sore throat like symptoms, which are commonly seen with cold. As the body fights back the virus, it uses up a lot of your energy leaving you feeling extremely tired and miserable. This is why people often refer to being ill with cold as ‘coming down’ with cold.
The Cold and Cough Symptoms
When you have a cold and cough, you may develop sore or scratchy throat, sneezing, blocked nose, headache, watery eyes or drainage of the nasal passage. Some people may even have high fever and/or muscle ache. The symptoms often overlap with the symptoms of flu, but usually flu symptoms are more severe and last for longer periods.
Whether it is the common cold or flu, the symptoms are enough to put life out of gear. The body’s exhaustion, lack of sleep due to congestion and the poor appetite drains you out of energy and will often result in absenteeism from work or school.
Preparing for the showers
In a country like Singapore, the rain gods can pour down without warning. It is important to remain well prepared for the showers in order to stay healthy. Here’s how you can beat the monsoon-illnesses –
#Keep your rain gears ready
There’s a sort of childish fun in getting drenched. As the showers soak our bodies, there is an automatic urge to dance along. But beware, that these little pleasures could lead to unwelcome infections.
Sometimes, you may not be soaked to the bone and may run for cover when you’re a bit wet. Even getting partially wet in the rains could drop your body’s temperature and there are high chances you may end up with a cold almost instantly.
It is therefore important to keep the rain gears well within reach at all times. Unfortunately, there are times when you can’t help getting wet, but you should ensure that you take a warm shower as soon as possible to bring back your body temperatures to normal.
#Get your Vitamin C dose
Vitamin C boosts your immunity and so is a good source of protection from cough and cold. You can get your dose of Vitamin C from citrus fruits like orange, guava, gooseberry and other fruits that have a sour, acidic taste.
#Stay fit and exercise
A rainy day gives you good excuse to snuggle in bed. But staying inactive will only make you more susceptible to the cold and cough germs. Don’t give up your exercises. If you can’t go out, then try and exercise in a shaded area (like a gym or at home).
#Beat the cold with hot drinks
Another good choice for this season is to opt for warm or hot drinks instead of cold, icy ones. A warm cup of milk or a hot bowl of soup will allow your body to warm up quickly and prevent you from falling sick.
#Go for a nutritious fill
Fruits, vegetables and plenty of water or fluids are what you need to keep the cold and cough out. Along with citrus fruits, the green leafy vegetables will help boost your immune system.
Water is the best liquid your body will ever need. You will need plenty of water (at least 8 to 10 glasses per day) to stay well hydrated. Water washes out toxins, bacteria and viruses in the urine and leaves little room for infection.
Dealing with the cold and cough
Sometimes, even with great precaution, you can end up with a seasonal cold and cough. If you go down with a cold, simple care practices can help:
Trust Tussidex Forte™ Linctus to suppress the resistant, dry, and unproductive cough. This Sarsaparilla-flavoured linctus is sugar-free, alcohol-free, and non-sedating! It pays to have this convenient solution especially when the schedules are tight and there’s no room for drowsy mornings.
For allergic rhinitis and hay fever, try the Cough-en® Linctus that not only refreshes your taste buds, but also effectively suppresses dry coughs. This syrup contains decongestant, which helps clear a stuffy nose and comes in a tasty blackcurrant flavour—making it a child’s favourite.
If blackcurrant is not your thing, then try the cherryflavoured Sedilix-DM® Linctus. It contains ingredients such as an antitussive (dextromethorphan), a decongestant (promethazine), and an antihistamine (pseudoephedrine)—all of which are needed for effective relief from the dry irritating cough caused by allergic rhinitis and stuffy nose as well as sneezing and the runny nose symptoms of a common cold.
Say good-bye to bronchial congestion and productive coughs with the kiwi-flavoured Mucolix™ Elixir. This colourless medicine liquefies and loosens the most stubborn of phlegm and helps clear the airways.
The mixed fruity flavoured XSP-Bena® Expectorant is a delight for those down with an exasperating cough. This liquid remedy effectively treats cough that comes with thick phlegm. It not only loosens stubborn phlegm, it also soothes tiresome coughing and clears nasal passages.
Frequent sneezing, runny or stuffy nose, watery eyes, hives or red itchy rashes may be an allergy episode instead of flu or cold. Adezio® is clinically proven to provide 24-hour relief of allergy and cold symptoms. Its non-drowsy flavour and once-a-day dosing make it a winning remedy for adults and children alike!