Get a massage
The monsoon is the fourth season in the Ayurvedic calendar. “Wet weather causes body imbalances. This can lead to poor digestion and rheumatic diseases,” says Dr Valsala Varier, chief medical officer, Arya Vaidya Sala Kottakkal, Coimbatore. She recommends oil massages to bring back the balance. “Make sure you do it after consulting with a doctor,” she says, because solutions in traditional medicine, are customised. A massage helps in rejuvenating the cells, increases circulation, improves digestion, and stimulates nerve endings. “The Shirodhara massage for the head is good for the eyes and helps with better sleep. A combination of different oils are used for the massage.” Here’s her recipe to help boost immunity: Add 1 tablespoon each of dry ginger, coriander seeds, muthanga , pathimugam, and karingaali to one litre of water and boil the concoction for 10 minutes. Strain, cool, and drink this water through the day, alternating with regular water at room-temperature. To prevent skin infections, add five neem leaves, a teaspoon each of turmeric and the bark of kanikonna to a bucket of water that you bathe with.
Keep warm and clean
The suddenly cool weather with the humidity can cause viral infections and respiratory problems. “Keep yourself warm. Vitamin C supplements can also boost your immunity during the rainy season,” says Dr Sue Ann Zachariah, general physician and Assistant Professor, Medicine, Government Medical College, Kottayam. Water-borne diseases like hepatitis and typhoid also spread quite easily in this weather. “Make sure to drink boiled water and freshly prepared warm food,” she says. If you get wet in the rain or are even exposed to a puddle of water, shower or wash your feet immediately. You’ll want to drain water in areas surrounding your house, so mosquitoes don’t breed.
Stay safe from infections
Fungal infections on the skin thrive in cool, damp weather. “Athlete’s Foot is a fungal infection that is very common during the rains. It is a rash that grows between the toes,” says Dr Manveen Kaur, consultant dermatologist, Dr Kaur’s Skin and Cosmetic Clinic, Coimbatore. Applying antibacterial talcum powder after a shower every day is a preventive measure, if wading through stagnant water is a regular part of your day. “Wash used clothes daily and make sure they are dried well and ironed before you wear them. Clothes can also have mould and fungus,” she says.
Watch what you eat
“The body’s metabolic rate (the rate at which the body burns fat) decreases with the drop in temperature that usually follows rains. Avoid food that is too hot or too cold as it can further slow down the digestion. Instead, opt for food that is warm. Try to eat light food (without an overdose of chillies, salt and spices) and stay away from fried, salty, and high-calorie foods. Make sure you eat something light between your main meals during the day,” says Cindin Loluck, senior consultant dietician, Elite Mission Hospital, Thrissur. She also says it’s best to avoid green leafy vegetables at this point. “They are prone to many diseases in the rains. But do eat other vegetables.” The best way to avoid contaminated food is to make it fresh at your home. “Avoid street food. The chance of getting infections from food made and served in unhygienic environments is high.” Adding dry amla, turmeric, ginger, garlic, pepper and curry leaves to your diet can boost your immunity.