The Thai monsoon season is in full force. Here are some tips on how to keep everyone in the family healthy and safe during these very rainy months.
1. Prepare rain gear, including an umbrella, hooded raincoat and waterproof shoes or boots, if you regularly travel by foot, to lower the chances of getting soaked when caught in a downpour. Those in immunosuppressed groups, including children, may catch a cold after being exposed to the cool breeze that often accompanies rain showers. If caught unprepared, step into your nearest supermarket or mini mart – they are usually stocked with basic rain equipment.
2. Take a warm shower right after getting drenched (but not in the midst of a thunderstorm). This helps stabilizes the cold temperature brought by the rains, helping the body return to a normal temperature after drying off and getting dressed.
3. Teach children about basic safety around lightning and thunder. The rule of thumb is that, if they can hear thunder, it’s time to head indoors, especially if they are swimming and even if it hasn’t started to rain. Also, avoid open areas, such as playing fields; isolated tall objects like trees and light posts; and metal objects such as fences and clotheslines. Wait at least 30 minutes after the last observed lightning strike or thunder to resume outdoor activities.
4. Be aware of your drinking water sources. Water-borne diarrheal diseases are very common during the monsoon season. Be cautious of potentially contaminated sources, especially when buying drinks from street stalls. It’s best to take your own boiled or purified drinking water with you.
5. Watch out for stagnant water, which is the prime breeding ground for mosquitoes. Dengue Fever, a potentially deadly mosquito-borne disease is most rampant during the rainy season. Regularly empty out still water sources, such as planter saucers and trays, pet water bowls, inflatable pools and decorative urns, around the home and in the garden. Get more tips on dealing with mosquitoes here.
6. Avoid wading in floodwaters, especially when barefoot. It may be fun for kids but beware of leptospirosis, a bacterial disease that is spread by floods containing urine and other bodily fluids of infected animals, including dogs and rodents. Also, clean or disinfect toys that have been contaminated by flood water before allowing children to resume playing with them.
7. Keep hands clean. Common cold symptoms can escalate during the rainy season. To keep everyone safe, clean hands regularly and always bring a hand sanitizer when you are out and about. Also, make it a habit to wash hands and feet when you get home, especially after contact with rain or flood waters.