Seasonal Illnesses: Types, Causes, And Precautions To Take

Knowing how to read the signs well can get you back on your feet much quicker.

By Jyotsana Rao

There are a few diseases that are characteristic of each season. Typhoid, malaria, and dengue in summer, hepatitis A and diarrhea in monsoon, and flu and bronchitis in winter are some of the seasonal diseases you should be aware of. While some of them go away with good food and some rest, other diseases leave you feeling tired, taking time off from work, and in worst cases, hospitalization.

Diseases are natural calamities and are out of your control. What you can control are the measures you take in keeping yourself and your loved ones safe from them. Being aware of various seasonal diseases can reduce your hospital visits, stop you from missing work, and reduce your medical costs to a large degree.

Anyone who has been to the doctor for a visit knows that it is an expensive affair. The number of dengue cases reported to WHO increased over 8 fold over the last two decades, and an average of 5.2 million cases of dengue were listed every year (1). Unfortunately, this is excluding loss of pay, worker replacement costs, and reduced productivity (2). That is why it is essential to keep up with your immune shots, consume healthy and nutritional food and enough water and make sure that you adhere to personal hygiene. In this article, we explore some of the diseases common in each season and a few precautionary measures you can take to keep you and your loved ones safe from them.

Summer:

Woman with chicken pox during the summer months

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The common diseases of summer include mosquito borne diseases like malaria and dengue, diarrhoea, food poisoning, flu, water borne diseases like typhoid and jaundice, chicken pox, heatstroke and sunburn. The increase of temperature in summer helps bacteria multiply, thereby increasing the spread of many bacterial infections.

Avoid these summer diseases by taking the following precautions:

  • Ensure that there are no breeding places for mosquitoes around the house
  • Wash your hands thoroughly after being in crowded places
  • Since food gets spoilt quickly due to the increase in temperature, make sure that  leftover food is refrigerated at the earliest
  • Avoid eating in unhygienic places and ensure you drink boiled water
  • Avoid exposure to viral infections like flu and chicken pox
  • Avoid going out between 11 am and 4 pm as much as possible to prevent heatstrokes
  • Use sunscreen to avoid sunburn and cover your head and face with a scarf or hat
StyleCraze Says
Stay within recommended alcohol limits and maintain a healthy weight to prevent jaundice.

Winter:

Woman with flu blowing her nose

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Common seasonal diseases of winter include cold, cough, flu, bronchitis, dry and itchy skin. Most often, the diseases of winter are caused by viral infections. These common seasonal diseases can be avoided by taking necessary precautions:

  • Wear suitable clothes
  • Cover your mouth and nose while sneezing or coughing
  • Regularly wash your hands with soap and water
  • Avoid exposure to illness at home or school
  • Have a balanced, healthy diet to build immunity
  • If you have a pre-existing lung or respiratory condition, consult a specialist during the change of season
  • Vaccination against flu may be considered for people at a high risk of getting flu and for people who are vulnerable like young children, pregnant women, people with chronic health conditions like asthma, diabetes, heart and lung disease and people over 65 years
  • Moisturise your skin regularly to prevent dry and itchy skin
StyleCraze Says
You may do steam inhalation if you experience chest congestion or cough during this season.

Monsoon:

Woman with diarrhea sitting on a toilet seat

iStock

Along with rains, monsoon brings a host of diseases. The dampness, slush and stagnant water are breeding grounds for a host of organisms and their vectors causing diseases such as malaria, diarrhea, typhoid, dengue, chikungunya, cholera, Hepatitis A, stomach infections, viral diseases such as viral fever, conjunctivitis etc.

Many of the diseases of monsoon like malaria, dengue, and chikungunya are transmitted by mosquitoes. They usually breed in waterlogged places.

Cholera, typhoid, stomach infections, diarrhea and Hepatitis A are water borne diseases, which usually spread through contaminated food and water.

Viral diseases are usually spread by air containing contaminated droplets of viruses released by infected people.

Take the precautions mentioned below to reduce the risk of contracting these diseases:

  • Make sure that there are no pools of stagnant water.  Keep water containers clean and ensure that flower containers and plates do not hold stagnant water.
  •  Use insect repellents to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes.
  • Wash hands before eating
  • Avoid eating in unhygienic places
  • Drink boiled water
  • Avoid exposure to people infected with viral diseases

Infographic: How To Keep Yourself Protected From Seasonal Diseases

Now that you’ve learned about seasonal diseases, here are some pointers to keep you disease-free. Simple steps like being aware of the seasonal conditions at a specific location can prevent the onslaught of seasonal ailments.

Check out the infographic below to learn how to protect yourself from seasonal diseases.

how to protect seson disease [infographic]

Illustration: StyleCraze Design Team

Every season is dominated by certain diseases that make their presence felt. While cases of malaria, dengue, diarrhea, typhoid, and sunstroke are reported heavily during summer, winter commonly brings illnesses like bronchitis, cold, cough, and flu. Similarly, the damp monsoons are conducive to the growth of organisms that cause malaria, diarrhea, dengue, chikungunya, cholera, Hepatitis A, and viral fever. If you take the precautions for each season listed above, you will most likely escape from falling prey to seasonal diseases. Most importantly, eat immunity-boosting foods, keep your surroundings clean, maintain personal hygiene, and drink pure water.

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Jyotsana Rao is an engineering graduate from NIT, Nagpur, who discovered her love for writing during her undergraduate days. She... more

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