With the monsoons there are also a host of ailments in the offing, with the possibility of malaria, chikungunya and dengue lurking in every puddle of stagnant water
The scorching summer has abated and it’s time for those much awaited monsoons. What it’s also time for, is to guard against a host of monsoon related ailments that rear their ugly heads around this time of the year. And for a City that is notorious for its dirty water bodies and largely tropical weather, the risk of mosquito-related ailments like malaria, chikungunya and dengue goes up considerably. In fact, according to a study published in the medical journal Lancet, nearly 1.2 million across the world succumb to malaria every year. Researchers reviewed the malaria mortality data from 1980 to 2010 and found that 1.2 million people were killed by the illness in 2010, which is twice more than what the toll was thought to be. In India alone, a whopping number of 46,800 Indians had succumbed to the illness.
While experts across the world are crying themselves hoarse about the incidence of malaria, according to State government data nearly 352 Hyderabadis had died due to malaria in 2011.
“We do see a spurt in the cases of malaria, chikungunya and dengue during the monsoons each year. While chikungunya seems to affect the older generation slightly more, malaria and dengue cases are seen across age groups and genders,” says Dr J Anish Anand, consultant physician at Apollo Hospital, Jubilee Hills.
“The primary reason for these cases are the stagnation of water and unhygienic conditions during the monsoons. The low levels of awareness among people about the need to curb mosquito breeding and maintaining cleanliness is also a cause,” says Dr Amita Bhandarkar, a Bangalore-based physician, “On an average nearly 20 per cent of the cases during the monsoons would be either malaria or dengue.”
Treatment for these ailments is usually symptomatic. “We first run a blood test to rule out any other infection or ailment. When it comes to chikungunya there is a lot of joint pains so we prescribe non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs to deal with it. The joint pains can last up to several weeks. Malaria takes around 5-6 days to get cured unless there are complications. If it is the phalciparum type of malaria it could be dangerous and sometimes the patient can either go into a coma or it could affect the organs,” explains Dr Anish.
Dengue however, is riskier with the chances of low platelet count and shock due to low blood pressure being high. Sometimes platelet transfusion may be required.
“The key is to maintain hygiene conditions and keep your surroundings clean. Wherever there is stagnant water, spray oil to prevent mosquito breeding. In case, there is illness then complete the medical course to prevent relapse,” says Dr Amita.