10 Monsoon Illnesses: Symptoms, Prevention, and Treatment

By Dr. Namrita Singh in Internal Medicine

Jul 28 , 2023 | 4 min read

Although the monsoon brings much-needed relief from the scorching hot summer, it also brings with it a plethora of diseases. 

The stagnant rainwater puddles, overflowing drains, and collected water in various objects offer inviting breeding grounds for various insects and pathogens.

1. Cold and flu

The humid weather, necessitating the need for air conditioning, makes us exposed to fluctuations in temperature. This leads to the common cold and flu. Symptoms vary from cough, runny or stuffy nose, sinusitis, and body ache. This leads to respiratory infection. 


Avoid sudden temperature changes. Consume highly nutritious food. Boost immunity with natural herbs and fruits.

2. Hepatitis A

Hepatitis A is a viral infection which affects the liver. 

Symptoms include fever, weakness, vomiting and jaundice


Avoid stale and unhygienically prepared juices or contaminated food and drink or unfiltered water. Always boil or filter drinking water. 

3. Dengue fever

It is transmitted by the Aedes mosquito, is a viral disease. Symptoms include high fever, severe headaches, joint and muscle pain, and rash. In severe cases, it can result in dengue hemorrhagic fever or dengue shock syndrome. The mosquito breeds in clean stagnant water and usually bites in the daytime.


  • Eliminate stagnant water: empty, clean, or cover any potential breeding sites like flower pots or other containers. Do change water daily for all coolers and water storage containers.

  • Use mosquito-repellent vaporizer machines indoors or citronella incense sticks for gardens. Use mosquito-repellent lotions or creams on exposed skin.

  • Wear protective clothing: Wear long-sleeved shirts and pants to minimize exposure to mosquito bites or apply repellent patch stickers.

  • Install window screens: Fit windows and doors with screens.

  • Use mosquito nets: Sleep under a bed net if you live in an area with a high incidence of dengue fever.

4. Malaria

Malaria is caused by the Plasmodium parasite and is transmitted by infected female Anopheles mosquitoes. There are different types; some are serious and life-threatening. Symptoms include high fever, chills, headache, and body aches.


  • Avoid mosquito bites: Use mosquito repellents, wear protective clothing, and sleep under mosquito nets to minimize exposure to mosquitoes.

  • Clear stagnant water and maintain a clean environment to reduce mosquito breeding sites.

  • If you are traveling to a malaria-endemic region, consult a doctor for prophylactic antimalarial medication.

5. Chikungunya 

Chikungunya is a viral disease transmitted by the Aedes mosquito. Symptoms include high fever, severe joint pain, muscle pain, headache, fatigue, and rash.

Prevention and Protection

Follow mosquito control measures: Eliminate stagnant water, use mosquito repellents, wear protective clothing, and install window screens.

6. Leptospirosis

Leptospirosis is a bacterial infection caused by the Leptospira bacteria. It is found in animal urine, especially rats. It contaminates water and soil during heavy rains when the rat-infested drains and gutters are filled with rainwater. When wading through the infected waters, the Leptospira bacteria can enter your body through small cuts or abrasions. 

Symptoms include high fever, headache, muscle aches, vomiting, and jaundice.


  • Avoid walking through flooded areas or wear protective clothing, including rubber boots. Wash hands and feet with soap and water after exposure to floodwaters or contaminated soil.

7. Typhoid Fever

Typhoid Fever is a bacterial infection caused by the Salmonella typhi bacterium. It is the commonest disease among school and college students. It is spread by contamination of food and water. Symptoms include high-grade fever, headache, abdominal pain, and weakness.


  • Wash hands thoroughly before eating or handling food. Always clean and wash vegetables before cooking. Ensure food is properly cooked and stored. Raw vegetables should be thoroughly washed. 

  • Ensure food is prepared hygienically and stored, whether prepared at home or from outside. Boil water before drinking or use a water purifier to eliminate bacterial contamination.

  • Students living in hostels can get vaccinated.

8. Cholera 

It is a waterborne illness caused by a bacteria called vibrio cholera. It is transmitted through contaminated water. 


Severe loose stools causing significant dehydration. Patients require hospitalization for IV fluids, antibiotics, and supportive medication. 


Drink boiled, cleaned, purified, or treated water. 

9. Dysentery and diarrhoea

Amoebic dysentery or bacteria-induced diarrhoea may result in stomach pain, loose motions, and nausea. Appropriate medication and adequate rehydration with water and electrolytes will help replenish the fluid loss. Home-cooked, safe food that is easy to digest will help your stomach recover faster.

10. Skin allergies and infection

If you have weak immunity or are suffering from diabetes, you are more vulnerable to skin infections during the monsoonsSkin allergies, rashes, and infections from fungus, yeast, or bacteria are quite common because of high humidity. It is always advisable to keep your skin dry and wear loose clothes.


Dry completely after a shower; apply talc if needed. Change clothing frequently if soiled. Apply antifungal cream or dusting powders if required.

General Precautions

  • Always carry an umbrella or a raincoat to avoid getting wet in the rain.

  • Dry yourself quickly if you get wet, and stay warm.

  • Stay hydrated. Have adequate fluid intake, although your thirst might be reduced during the rainy season.

  • Use mosquito-repellent creams when you step outside. At home, use mosquito nets or repellents.

  • Keep your surroundings clean--empty or cover stagnant water.

Prevention is always better than cure! 

  • Drink boiled and filtered water to avoid water-borne infections.

  • Eat home-cooked, nutritious food. Eating outside food may lead to food-borne diseases.

  • Follow hygienic habits. Wash your hands regularly before meals and after using the toilet.

  • Get vaccinated and avoid contact with the infected person. Take precautionary flu shots and Covid vaccine after consulting your doctor.

  • Always wear a mask and follow social distancing practices to avoid the spread of air-borne infections.

  • Take vitamin supplements, especially when you are deficient in vitamin B12 and D3.

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