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Intermittent showers can bring along a host of health problems, especially for children. Doctors say that a few precautionary measures could help keep seasonal illnesses away. Some of the common problems that occur during rains are fever, cold and cough.

Doctors say that respiratory infections and water-borne infections can easily spread during the rainy season and persons with asthma could find their condition aggravated.

S. Raghunanthanan, professor of medicine, Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital (GH), said people, especially children and elderly, should avoid getting drenched in the rain.

“Respiratory viral infections can easily spread now. Water-borne diseases such as typhoid, viral hepatitis and acute gastroenteritis could be caused as there is a high chance of water contamination,” he said.

People should drink boiled water, consume freshly-cooked food and avoid eating food outside. Frequent washing of hands with soap and water will help a lot, he said.

“Drinking boiled water will cut down the risk of pneumonia by 50 per cent and typhoid,” said P. Ramkumar, senior assistant professor, Government Children’s Hospital, Egmore.

“People should be encouraged to use tissue paper if they have running nose or cough as use of cloth increases the chances of contagion. If school-going children have fever, cough and cold, they should take leave and take rest at home for three days. This is a precautionary measure so that the infection does not spread to other children,” he said.

He said children should not be allowed to walk barefoot in stagnant dirty water due to the risk of leptospirosis.

Dr. Ramkumar also said that annual flu shot is advisable especially for children with asthma and congenital heart diseases, while children below the age of five years could be vaccinated against pneumonia.

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