Dr Dillon Dsouza , Consultant ENT and Head and Neck surgeon , attached to Jaslok hospital , Breach Candy hospital and Desa”s hospital
Introduction: The monsoon brings with it two types of weather wet and cold alternating with dry and humid. These conditions are ideal for the growth of mold dust mites and bacteria. Bacteria cause bacterial infections while mold and dust mites cause fungal infections and seasonal allergies.
There is also a lot of pollen in the air which lends itself to allergies due to increased greenery.
Viruses thrive in cool temperatures as in the monsoon leading to viral infections
ENT problems caused include
Allergic rhinitis and sinusitis which are conditions where patients have running nose headaches and sometimes fever, fungal infections of the ear and nose and sinuses where the patient has signs of sinusitis and discharge from nose or ear, sore throats and stomach ailments.
The following tips and tricks help reduce these ENT problems
Bacterial infections, fungi and mold in the living environment and infections caused by them may be reduced by
• Periodically wiping all surfaces which pick up dust and dirt
• Keeping the environment at home clean
• Vacuuming all fabrics carpets upholstery soft toys
• Not keeping indoor plants during the monsoon Regular cleaning of fans and air conditioner filters
• Keeping shoes and wet items outside or near a window to dry
• Avoid wearing damp clothes
• For those who can afford use dryers to dry clothing and fabrics
• Wet walls and spots in the house should be treated to avoid mold and fungal growth.
• Avoid contact or close proximity with people who are already infected with colds or sore throats
• Avoid contact with allergens like smoke, air fresheners, sprays and other substances that cause you to feel irritation in the throat.
• Keep the ears dry especially when bathing fungi and bacteria trapped in the hair may enter the ear and cause infections.
• Avoid using ear buds during the monsoon as this may introduce bacteria and fungi into the ear.
• Do not put oils or other organic liquids into the ear as it forms a breeding ground for infections.
• Wash hands thoroughly with antibacterial soaps before eating.
• Swimming during the monsoon is to be done carefully keeping the ears dry or drying the ear thoroughly after.
• Have home fumigated if black patches appear on walls.
Maintaining lighting and ventilation.
• Maintaining good ventilation in the home and office.
• Ensuring adequate light preferably sunlight enters the home.
• Using air conditioners on dry mode to dehumidify the air or use dehumidifiers.
• Keeping washing machines and dryers open to allow them to dry after use.
Boosting immunity by diet and exercise.
• Drinking plenty of fluids especially warm fluids like tea or coffee or broth soups keeps airways moist and lowers infections.
• Include immunity boosting foods like fresh vegetables and fruits after washing well in the diet other immune boosting foods are youghurt, oats and barley, garlic, tea, chicken soup, sweet potatoes, cloves, ginger, black peppers, bell peppers, broccoli, spinach, almonds, turmeric and green tea.
• 15 minutes of brisk walking or aerobics a day boosts natural immunity.
• Get out in sunlight whenever possible.
• Manage sleep and stress levels by meditation yoga and strict schedules.
• Decrease smoking and alcohol consumption.
• Eat regular balanced meals .. a rough rule of thumb is one third vegetables one third protein and one third carbohydrates.
Treat infections promptly.
• People with reduced immunity like diabetics or those on chemotherapy radiotherap, small children and transplant patients who all have lower immunity should get any infections examined and treated by a doctor as soon as possible.
• Sinusitis, ear discharge, sore throats should be attended to promptly with medications as they are easy to cure with minimal medications in the early stages.