8 Diseases To Watch Out For During Summers

Summer is here. This is a season for tasty fruits, picnics, school vacations and fun-filled days. But, it is also the season when diseases come knocking at our doors.

By Ashwin Dewan

8 Diseases To Watch Out For During Summers

Priyanka Vohra is a worried mother. Her six-year-old son, Piyush, is down with food poisoning. During the school vacations, Piyush spends a majority of his time playing outdoors and eating food, especially from street vendors. To prevent her son from falling ill, Priyanka makes sure that Piyush eats home-cooked food as much as possible, not knowing that in summer food spoils quickly. Even home-cooked food can become dangerous as was the case with Piyush, who ate potatoes that had gotten spoilt at home because it was not refrigerated.

Food poisoning is not the only summer disease. There are others such as jaundice, heat stroke, sunburn, viral infections, diarrhoea, etc. This article looks at the various diseases to watch out for during the summer season.

1) Food poisoning:
During summer, food can spoil within a matter of a few minutes. In most cases, raw meat, food sold by street vendors, and contaminated water are the culprits. However, consuming stale and spoiled food can also lead to food poisoning, which results in stomach pain, nausea, diarrhoea and vomiting.

How to stay safe:

  • Always put leftover food in the refrigerator. 
  • Food must be well-cooked so that it does not get spoiled.

2) Heat stroke:
Heat stroke, if untreated, can prove fatal. It results from prolonged exposure to high temperatures. Signs of a heat stroke include a sudden rise in body temperature, nausea, headache, dizziness, vomiting difficulty in breathing and fatigue.

How to stay safe:

  • Try to avoid the outdoors for prolonged periods.
  • If you go out, cover your head and face during exposure.
  • Hydrate yourself continuously by having water and juice.
  • Wear loose fitting and light-coloured clothes.

3) Sunburn:
Exposure to the sun for long periods is not healthy. Sunburn refers to the burn caused to the skin due to overexposure to ultraviolet radiation. The risk of damage depends on several factors like time of the day, amount of time spent in the sun and others. Leaving children unattended in the car for long hours is to be strictly prohibited.

How to stay safe:

  • Apply a sunscreen lotion before going outdoors.
  • Use protective measures like hats, protective clothing and sunscreen.

Summer can prove to be a difficult time for toddlers. Fortunately, some summer foods provide respite to your children from the heat, and this article takes a look at them.

4) Diarrhoea:
Is another disease to watch out during the hot, summer months. Often, the root cause of diarrhoea is eating contaminated food and unsafe drinking habits. When a person suffers from diarrhoea, he passes watery stool several times in a day, which can lead to dehydration.

How to stay safe:

  • Make sure to drink only water that is clean and has been thoroughly boiled.
  • Avoid buying food from open stalls as flies and other insects may have sat on them.
  • Always wash vegetables before chopping.

5) Chicken pox:
Called chicken pox because the condition resembles the peck marks made by a chicken, the disease is seen right at the onset of summer. It is spread by air-borne particles and when one infected person sneezes or coughs. Some symptoms include fever, headache, and a sore throat followed by blisters all over the body.

How to stay safe:
There is a vaccine for Chicken pox. However, one can always follow some simple measures like:

  • Washing hands thoroughly after a visit to a public place. 
  • Isolating a person who has chicken pox to prevent it from spreading further.

6) Measles:
Also known as rubeola or morbilli, measles is very active during summer and is extremely contagious. It infects the lining at the back of the throat and is transmitted the same way as chicken pox. The initial symptoms of measles are a runny nose, high fever, cough, sore throat and red eyes.

How to stay safe:
The MMR vaccine (Measles, Mumps and Rubella) is highly effective in preventing this disease.

7) Mumps:
Known to occur mainly in children during peak summer, it is an extremely contagious viral disease. It is caused by the mumps virus, which is transmitted when an infected person sneezes or coughs. One common symptom is the swelling of the infected person’s salivary glands at the base of the neck.

How to stay safe:
The MMR vaccine (Measles, Mumps and Rubella) is highly effective in preventing this disease.

8) Prickly heat:
Although not necessarily a disease, prickly heat is very typical of the summer season. They occur as a result of excess heat and humidity on the body. They appear as tiny red rashes and itch a lot causing a lot of discomfort.

How to stay safe:
Applying prickly heat powders on affected areas can help a lot.

Summer is a wonderful time to spend time with the family and have fun. All you need to do is stay healthy and clear of the summer diseases mentioned above.

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