We all love the rain for its aesthetic beauty as well as for the fun filled outings. One must be careful to avoid various parasitic and bacterial infections that can be caused by walking on water-logged roads
The sound of the first rain against our window pane, the lush gardens and people on the roads with colourful umbrellas and rain boots — for many of us, the monsoons is one season we all love.
But this aesthetically pleasing season has its own pitfalls. While we love to get wet in the rain, the overflowing drains, stagnant water and speeding motorists who spray us while driving through a puddle tend to be a major put off. Walking on these roads can also cause health ailments.
Walking through puddles with contaminated water (contains various forms of bacteria and virus) is said to allow worms to enter the blood stream. This usually occurs if you walk barefoot and could also happen due to inappropriate footwear.
Dr VK Bhargava, senior consultant physician, Apollo Hospital, says, “Rain water as such is sterile, it is when it gets contaminated that it causes infections. Normally walking through these areas just makes you dirty and you may get a cough and a cold. In severe cases it may cause parasitic infections such as leptospirosis which was seen during the Mumbai floods. This is common among farmers and those who work with drains and sewerage.”
According to Dr Sunitha Sekhar Reddy, dermatologist, ADI clinics, “Some of the infections that may occur due to walking in the rain include, hookworm infections, bacterial and fungal infections, viral infections and toenail infections. Warts are the most common viral infections that are caused by walking around barefoot.”
The symptoms for these infections depend on where they occur and their intensity. According to Dr Sunitha, “Bacterial infections are generally represented by a swelling which is painful. Fungal infection occurs usually between the toes. When it comes to toe and nail infections, it usually takes a long time before any clear symptoms can be seen.”
She mentions that if a person notices these symptoms then they should visit a doctor. These infections can be treated and cured easily.
People with injuries as well as ailments such as diabetes should be cautious and take immediate action. Dr Bhargava says, “Walking through the contaminated water may cause various skin infections. One must also be careful to avoid foot injuries as they may become infected. One must be careful in this season as there are chances of slipping and getting hurt.”
Now with the routine of our daily life staying indoors and away from these problems is easier said and done. These infections as such cannot be prevented.
Dr Sunitha says, “One should wash their feet well with soap water. Shoes should also be exposed to the sun so that they dry. If possible one should sanitise the shoes with spirit.” Dr Bhargava suggests that as far as possible one should avoid getting wet and if we do need to go out then wear appropriate shoes such as gumboots. Shoes that absorb water should be avoided.
Dr Bhargava also mentions that when one returns after walking in the rain it is important to wash, keep warm and dry ones feet. The main requirement is to keep dampness at bay as it can cause various infections. Follow these simple precautions and enjoy these monsoons with a splatter and a splash!