How to prepare for the monsoon season

Common Monsoon Maladies

There is nothing quite like the monsoon season. Many of us anticipate the refreshing relief it brings after months of hot, dry weather. It gives a boost to flowering plants, enlivens our neighbourhoods and makes our landscapes lush with green foliage.

The monsoon season brings with it a major transformation of our environment – and it is important to prepare for these changes as much as possible. Of course, those changes are not always positive. You have probably noticed that your home is more likely to be visited – or overrun – with pests during this time, too.

This influx of pests is also why the rainy season is infamous for an increase in pest-related diseases such as dengue fever and malaria. Read on for everything you need to know about the monsoon season in India – and how to make sure your home is pest-protected.

When is monsoon season in India?

The monsoon season falls between June and September in India. In fact, monsoon season in India is so important, that the months before and after are sometimes known as the pre-monsoon (or summer) and the post-monsoon (or autumn) seasons, respectively.

When we ask ourselves when monsoon season is in India, it is important to consider that the rains arrive over a four-month period, and it does not pummel down across all of India at the same time. It usually starts in the south of India, in Kerala, around 1 June and makes its way over to Mumbai over 10 days. By the end of June, the monsoon will have reached Delhi, and will cover the rest of India by mid-July.

It is surprisingly difficult to accurately predict the first downfall – but listen out for pre-monsoon showers in the way of heavy rain, thunder and lightning. These showers will likely last for days without the sun getting a chance to peek through. After this, monsoon season in India transforms into a steady and daily pouring of rain that often strikes without warning. This period of daily rain will last throughout August, and finally start to taper off in September. Be warned though – September can still bring surprise rain showers that can be torrential!

What are the common diseases during rainy season?

Some of the major implications for the rainy season in India are uncontrollable flooding and an increase in diseases. In India, common diseases of the rainy season include viral fever and the common cold, as well as malaria, chikungunya, typhoid fever, hepatitis and leptospirosis.

Diarrhoea is also a common disease caused in monsoon season, usually caused by bacteria and parasites on contaminated food. If you start to have symptoms, try to rest, drink plenty of liquids and slowly re-introduce solid foods to keep stomach cramps at bay. You may find placing a hot water bottle on your abdomen helpful too.

Below is an overview of the main rainy season diseases, and prevention tips to keep you and your family safe.

How to prevent the common cold and viral fever in monsoon season

One of the prime reasons behind absenteeism during monsoon season is the common cold.

It is easier to catch during the monsoon season because the viruses responsible for it thrive in humid conditions. You are also more likely to be wearing wet clothes for an extended period of time and may be spending more time exposed to humid air from air-conditioners.

To prevent catching the common cold during monsoon season, consider:

  • Keeping a change of clothes at the office, including dry shoes.
  • Switching off the AC and keeping windows open if possible.
  • Washing hands often to prevent catching the highly contagious disease.
  • Staying away from people who have symptoms of a cold, such as a runny nose, coughing or sneezing.
  • Eating healthily, including immune-boosting fruits and veggies.

How to prevent malaria in monsoon season

Malaria is one of the deadliest of monsoon diseases, and is spread by mosquitoes. Some common symptoms of malaria include body ache, fever, sweating and chills and could cause jaundice, severe anaemia and even liver and kidney failure if left untreated. This makes it important to learn how to prevent against malaria, particularly during monsoon season.

You may also want to read up on how to keep mosquitoes away from the home. One effective way of preventing malaria is by killing the mosquitoes responsible using a pest killer such as the Mortein 2-in-1 Insect Spray. Simply shake the can and direct the nozzle at the mosquito to kill it quickly.

How to prevent chikungunya in monsoon season

While caused by a virus, chikungunya is spread via mosquito bites, and can leave you with severe joint pain, fever and a rash. There are no antiviral drugs or vaccines available for treatment, so it is important to protect yourself against mosquitoes as much as possible. You might also want to learn more about the signs and symptoms of chikungunya, so you can get yourself to a doctor as soon as you start exhibiting symptoms.

How to prevent typhoid fever and hepatitis A in monsoon season

Another monsoon-related disease is typhoid fever. It is characterised by a fever that lasts for more than five days, accompanied by headache, diarrhoea, abdominal pain and a rash in the second week. Cases of hepatitis A also increase in the monsoon season, with symptoms including elevated body temperature, joint pain, muscle aches, nausea, loss of appetite and vomiting. You may also see a yellowish tinge in the eyes, skin and nails.

Both typhoid and hepatitis A are spread due to contaminated food and water, so try to avoid eating street food or eating at restaurants, and drink only bottled drinks. Fortunately, there are vaccines available to combat both typhoid and hepatitis A.

How to prevent leptospirosis in monsoon season

Another disease that presents itself during monsoon season is leptospirosis. It is an infection that is caught when walking in dirty water, and you will be more susceptible to it if you have injuries or cracks in your skin. Symptoms of leptospirosis include high fever, chills, severe headache, and muscle ache, accompanied by vomiting, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhoea.

The bacterial disease is mainly spread by rats through their urine, so keeping rats away from your home is paramount, particularly during the rainy season. Try not to step into dirty water if possible and take a shower as soon as you get home to get rid of any contaminants. Make sure to protect any external injuries before you go out.

How do insects behave in monsoon season?

As we have covered above, there are a variety of diseases related to the rainy season that are caused by insect pests. Insects in monsoon season tend to be more active than usual for several reasons.

The high humidity can stimulate the reproductive instinct in most insects including ants and mosquitoes, causing them to venture out into the world in search of mates. Some monsoon insect pests may love the warm, damp and humid conditions of your home while others may be taking shelter in your home away from the rain.

Once they get in, they will likely breed and multiply – eventually forming an infestation that you will need to address quickly.

How to prepare for a monsoon

With the potential for dangerous diseases and the possibility of a pest infestation on the horizon, you will need to learn how to prepare for the monsoon season properly.

Some steps you can take are:

  • Clear away any clutter and debris from around your home, including plant pots, drainpipes, gutters and pit latrines.
  • Fix any problems with your roof to prevent leaks, and any areas around your home that may be affected by excessive rain or flooding.
  • Keep your bathroom clean and dry throughout the rainy season.
  • As flooding during the monsoon could result in overflowing groundwater that could contaminate the tap water, you may want to boil or filter tap water before use.
  • Try to eat freshly-cooked food, thoroughly washing vegetables and fruits in clean water before use.
  • Avoid consuming dirty water or food that might not be prepared to high standards.
  • Adhere to proper hygiene and sanitation practices, including washing your hands regularly with soap and water.

How to handle pest control in the rainy season

As part of your preparation for the rainy season, you will also need to protect your home against pests. Fortunately, there are a few quick and easy steps you can take to help keep pests away from your home in monsoon season:

  • Mosquitoes breed in accumulated, dirty water, so cover any buckets, containers or wells with a secure lid.
  • Prevent rats and cockroaches from getting inside your home by plugging any holes, cracks or crevices in walls, rooftops or doorways.
  • Check if there is any exposed piping through which cockroaches or rats could get into your home, and place mesh covers on the mouth of the pipes.
  • Prevent mosquitoes through installing mosquito screens on your doors and windows.
  • Use the Mortein 2-in-1 Insect Killer Spray to target any mosquitoes or cockroaches that may have entered your home. Shake the can well and spray directly at the pests to kill them quickly and effectively .
  • Place Mortein PowerGard Ratkill in dry spots near the entrances to your home to kill any rodents that get close. Simply break the cake into pieces and place around your home.
  • Use an effective mosquito repellent such as the Mortein Insta Vapourizer, designed to work quickly to kill mosquitoes. Follow the instructions to set up the machine, and simply plug it into an outlet to get it working.