According to India Meteorological Department (IMD), Mumbai is likely to witness the first rainfall of the season sometime between June 8 to 10, bringing a much-needed relief from the heat. Harsh sun rays will be replaced by cool winds and cooler rains making us all crave fritters, souples, warming chai and more.  However, one must not forget that the onset of monsoon in the city will also bring with itself a wave of illnesses. Effective preventive measures and timely treatment will continue to remain key for optimal health in this wet season.  
Ahead of the monsoon, consulted three city doctors on the care and prevention of monsoon diseases.   
“Monsoon invites various diseases such as malaria, dengue fever, and throat infection which can cause harmful effects on overall health and well-being. The air is moist during the monsoon season which attracts a variety of bacteria, viruses, microorganisms, dirt, sand, and minute particles in the environment. These can make the air polluted making individuals fall sick and get affected with various allergies and diseases like eye infection, malaria, cholera, and cough,” Dr Manjusha Agarwal, senior consultant – internal medicine, Gleneagles Hospital, Parel Mumbai tells   
Dr Jinendra Jain, consultant physician, Wockhardt Hospital, Mira Road, adds, “Flu, throat infection, cough, cold, and sore throat are common monsoon-related diseases that are often caused due to weather changes, and weak immune systems. Typhoid is transmitted through contaminated water and poor hygiene.”  
Dr Bikky Chaurasia, consultant, internal medicine, Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital Mumbai lists down common monsoon diseases.   
1. Dengue: Dengue fever is caused by the dengue virus, transmitted by Aedes mosquitoes. These mosquitoes breed in stagnant water, which is abundant during the monsoon season. 
2. Malaria: Malaria is caused by Plasmodium parasites, transmitted by Anopheles mosquitoes. The increased presence of stagnant water during monsoon provides ideal breeding conditions for these mosquitoes. 
3. Leptospirosis: This bacterial infection is caused by Leptospira, which is transmitted through contact with water contaminated with the urine of infected animals, often found in floodwaters. 
4. Cholera: Cholera is caused by the bacterium Vibrio cholerae, typically spread through contaminated water and food. Monsoon floods can lead to contamination of water supplies. 
5. Typhoid: Typhoid fever is caused by Salmonella typhi bacteria, spread through contaminated food and water, with risks heightened during monsoon due to compromised sanitation. 
6. Viral fever: Various viruses cause viral fevers, which become more prevalent during monsoon due to the increase in mosquito breeding sites and compromised sanitation. 
7. Gastroenteritis: This condition, caused by bacteria, viruses, or parasites, is characterised by inflammation of the stomach and intestines due to contaminated food and water. 
8. Hepatitis A and E: Both types of hepatitis are viral infections transmitted through contaminated food and water, with higher incidences during monsoons due to poor hygiene and sanitation. 
A weak immune system is an invitation to various health issues and complications making it essential to eat foods that boost and strengthen their immunity. Thus, having strong immunity is essential to fight off illnesses during this season.   
Senior citizens and children are at higher risk of experiencing various health issues during the monsoon season as their immune system is weak as compared to others.   
What are the early signs of monsoon diseases that indicate medical attention?  
Agarwal: Fever that stays persistent for more than a day or two with intense headache, and body pain can be an early sign of various underlying health issues. It is essential to address these early symptoms before they worsen over time which could further lead to various complications. 
Jain: People often neglect certain alarming signs like high fever, worsened cough causing a sore throat, or persistent body pain. These symptoms could indicate various underlying health issues that need immediate medical attention, as they can worsen over time. 
Chaurasia: Other signs include:  
•    Persistent high fever 
•    Severe headache 
•    Unexplained fatigue or weakness 
•    Muscle and joint pain 
•    Nausea and vomiting 
•    Yellowing of the skin or eyes (jaundice) 
•    Skin rash or reddish-purplish spots on skin. 
•    Severe abdominal pain 
•    Symptoms of dehydration (dry mouth, reduced urination) 
•    Bleeding from anywhere 
What preventative measures should people take to avoid contracting monsoon diseases?  
 Agarwal: Mosquito nets and insect repellents are highly effective in preventing diseases like malaria and dengue. Mosquito nets create barriers between mosquitoes and individuals, safeguarding them from these harmful diseases.  
Similarly, applying insect repellent on the whole body keeps them less attractive to harmful mosquitoes. There are other effective ways to protect yourself from mosquitoes like keeping the surroundings clean and hygienic, regularly changing water from flower pots and buckets, to avoid the breeding of mosquitoes. 
Jain: Avoid eating food from places where hygiene is low such as stalls or restaurants built near washrooms or highways where the polluted air directly enters the food making it contaminated.  
Limit going outdoors during the night or in unhygienic surroundings to reduce the chances of getting bitten by mosquitoes which can cause malaria and dengue.  
Use insect repellents on your clothes, hats, and socks to shield yourself from harmful mosquitoes.  
Eat home-cooked food, drink boiled water, and maintain good personal hygiene.  
Chaurasia:  Wear long-sleeved clothing and full-length trousers. Keep surroundings clean and free from stagnant water. Maintain proper sanitation and personal hygiene. Drink only boiled or treated water. Consume freshly cooked food and avoid raw or street food. Wash hands frequently with soap and water. Avoid eating outside food, street food or packed food. 
What diet should people follow during monsoon to avoid falling sick?  
Agarwal: Eating green leafy vegetables like spinach, and fenugreek or methi, parsley, and broccoli daily can help boost immunity during monsoon. Avoid eating junk food or packaged food that contains harmful chemicals and preservatives that can easily irritate your digestion and overall health.  
Jain: Opt for home-cooked food that is healthy and beneficial for overall health and well-being. Wash your hands before touching or eating any food, as your hands might carry various harmful germs and bacteria. After buying store-bought fruits and vegetables or ingredients it is important to wash them with water before using them to ensure safety. 
Chaurasia: Eat a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Incorporate foods high in Vitamin C (citrus fruits, guava) to enhance immunity. Include probiotics (yoghurt) for maintaining gut health. Stay hydrated with clean, boiled, or filtered water. Avoid consuming street food and raw salads.  
How can people consume clean drinking water?
: Regularly boiling water can help ensure its hygiene and safety. Boiling can eliminate all the dust particles, sand, bacteria, and viruses from the water and help prevent getting affected with various life-threatening diseases. Change the water in pots or filters regularly in a day or two to avoid the risk of getting contaminated, as water contamination is an invitation to diseases like malaria, dengue, cold, throat allergies, and flu. 
Jain: Make sure the water tank or containers available at your house are properly deep-cleaned now and then to maintain hygiene, as this water could be used for various purposes such as drinking and cooking. Using water purifiers can be of great help in ensuring the safety and quality of water as they kill bacteria and microorganisms in water. 
What vaccinations are recommended before or during the monsoon season?
: People are advised to get certain vaccinations like the influenza flu vaccine (a type of seasonal flu), hepatitis B vaccine (spreads through food and water),  and typhoid vaccine (caused by poor hygiene and contaminated water). 
Chaurasia: Currently there is only vaccination for typhoid and hepatitis. Dengue vaccination is under trial. Vaccination should be taken before monsoon as it takes a few weeks to a month to develop immunity.   

What should people do if there is an outbreak of monsoon disease in their area? 
Agarwal: Wear long-sleeved T-shirts and jeans or pants to protect essential areas like knees, hands, and neck. Follow safety measures and keep your surrounding areas clean to minimise the risk of monsoon-related diseases. Use mosquito repellents and nets to avoid mosquito bites. Keep the windows closed and ensure there is no water accumulation near the house.

Chaurasia: Follow public health advisories and instructions from health authorities. Avoid crowded places to reduce the risk of infection spread. Seek prompt medical attention if any symptoms appear. 
Disclaimer: This information does not replace professional medical advice. Consult a qualified specialist or your physician for personalised guidance.