Finally, the rainy season seems to be upon us. From the collective sighs of relief, it is easy to see the scorching sun did not only affect farmers. For a while now, everything around us will be green and clean, women can wear their long hair extensions more comfortably, and those endless cups of tea will come in handy, now that the fear of sweating has flown out of the window.
However, the rainy season has its unique challenges, the most obvious being the hustle of leaving the house to go to work or school if you do not have a car. There are opportunistic diseases that come on the back of the rainy season that one should look out for.
Kampala City has had its infamous outbreaks of cholera in the rainy season. However, other urban centres are also susceptible to the disease because of the many makeshift restaurants that sell food and drinks.
“Cholera is an intestinal infection that is caused by ingesting food or drinks contaminated by the bacteria that causes the disease,” Dr Paul Mugabi, a physician at Life Clinic in Kawuku, says, adding, “Many people in urban centres rarely get cholera from the food they eat at home. This is because the need to make a profit does not override the need for hygiene.”
Eating in restaurants is part of the culture of the working class because not everyone has the time to drive home for lunch. To cater for your health, it would be better to visit the toilets of your restaurant of choice before you sit down to the delicious meal the waiter or waitress puts in front of you.
Usually, the conditions of the toilet will alert you to the hygiene measures of the establishment.
In 2015, Kampala suffered a huge breakout of typhoid fever, prompting Kampala Capital City Authority to close five commercial buildings whose owners were supplying tenants with underground water that contained faecal material. Some of this water found its way into the cheap drinking water and other beverages hawked usually for as low as Shs500 per bottle.
Grace Nakasi, who owns a juice parlour at Mackay Plaza says during the rainy season, people take more juice than water. “This is a good thing because juice makers get business.
However, people should scrutinise the places where they buy their juice from. Many vendors use unboiled water to make juice. They will pour a kettle of boiled water in a 20-litre jerrycan and fill up the space with tap water, and then use that to mix their juice.”
Dr Mugabi says if you can, make your own fresh juice at home and carry it with you to work. Also, if you love eating fruits, buy whole fruits from the market, grocer, or roadside vendors. Be wary of buying slices and pieces of fruit because you can never be sure if the vendor has access to clean water to wash his hands, or knife before cutting them,” he says.
A common cold that is untreated can graduate into something serious. “To avoid contracting common flu, do not remain long in crowded places, wash your hands frequently, and cover your mouth and nose when sneezing and coughing so as not to transmit the flue to those seated next to you,” Dr Mugabi advises.
Naturally, if a common cold persists, instead of using self-prescribed drugs, visit a clinic for a medical examination. Untreated common colds can lead to complications, such as, acute bronchitis, pneumonia, and bacterial sinusitis.
Other things to look out for
Besides the diseases, there are a number of measure we can carryout to keep our homes hygienic. With the rain falling daily, the compound outside your house will need to be taken care of more frequently.
Long grass is a harbinger for snakes and in a cold and rainy season, snakes will also be looking to slither into the warmth of your house.
If the pit-latrine behind the house is about to get full, engage the services of a cesspool cleaning company. This will ensure that faecal matter does not get near your water sources or that the cockroaches from the toilet do not find their way into your kitchen.
It is important to keep yourself protected during the rainy season because you can catch infection frequently. It is always better to take precaution and be prepared whenever you go out of your home.
How to keep safe
• Make sure you are hydrated by drinking only boiled or treated water.
• Wash your hands frequently and if you can, carry a hand sanitizer with you.
•Keep food away from vermin and rats.
• Dispose of human waste in the proper way.
• Wash all food and fruits before eating.
• Remove all breeding areas of vermin inside and outside the house.
• Increasing your intake of Vitamin C will help you drive away the cold virus faster.