The rainy season may have its charms: the cool weather, the reason to wear jackets and the magnified pleasure of a cup of hot coffee or a bowl of hot soup.
But it has dangers as well, primarily in the form of diseases like dengue and in infectious bacteria and viruses that become active due to the high humidity brought about by repeated spells of rain.
There are simple precautions we can take to stay in peak health condition during this tricky season.
1. Wash your hands
Bacteria and viruses come alive during the monsoon and you can come into contact with them just by crossing the road or holding on to an infected railing or bench.
Wash your hands as frequently as you can with soap and warm water.
2. Don’t touch your face
The flu virus commonly enters our body through the eyes, nose and mouth.
Resist the urge to scratch your eye or wipe your sweaty forehead. Bring a clean napkin or handkerchief instead.
3. Protect yourself from dirty water
Clogged gutters and dirty puddles are a common sight during rainy season. Unfortunately, they are sources of water-borne diseases like diarrhea, influenza, cholera and fungal skin infections.
Covering up is the best way to protect yourself from these diseases and still maintain your active life. Aside from a jacket, invest in a good pair of rain boots. In the Philippines, many commuters prefer wearing rubber slippers because, unlike most closed shoes, they dry fast and are easy to move around in.
But slippers leave your feet at the mercy of contaminated elements.
Rain boots are now available for a very cheap price and can be found in a range of styles and designs to suit anyone. They can be taken indoors and stored in lockers or in a bag underneath your office desk.
Rubber ones are light enough to carry in a backpack.
4. Avoid eating street food
While fish ball, kwek kwek and kikiam sold in the streets sound like a good idea any time of the year, the rainy season is when you should stay away from them. Food cooked and sold in the open air are likely to come in contact with airborne and waterborne diseases and bacteria.
Better to eat fresh, home-cooked meals. Why not cook fish balls at home?
5. Keep mosquitoes out
The mosquito population grows during monsoon because stagnant water — their choice breeding ground — becomes more common.
To keep mosquitoes out of your life, do some housecleaning. Look through flower pots, fountains, ditches, nooks and crannies that may be holding stagnant water. Clean them out and cover them until the end of the season.
Slather mosquito repellent over your body, especially when you go outdoors.
6. Drink herbal tea
Herbal tea has curative properties for coughs, colds and sore throat — common ailments during the rainy season.
To make it extra good for your body (not to mention pleasant and delicious), you can add body warming ingredients like cloves, ginger, pepper, basil and mint.
7. Make eucalyptus oil your best friend
The aroma of eucalyptus oil helps us breathe easily; this, in turn, relaxes the entire body. This substance can be your best friend during the rainy season when the nose gets clogged from flu and the body is maxed out from other diseases or even when dealing with just the extra strain of commuting in the rain.
There are several ways to breathe in its healing and calming aroma. You can dilute it in water and use it to steam your face.
You can also put a few drops of oil in a handkerchief and bring it wherever you go.