Rainy season care – tips for the elderly


Life on earth is interdependent through an ecological balance. The ecosystem is challenged by varying changes in nature. Living beings adapt to these changes by bringing a physiological shift within, for the sustenance of life. One such important variation is the seasonal change. Flora and fauna abide by the laws of nature and adapt to seasonal rhythms. Human beings fail to abide by this and work at their free will and choice. If one is not aligned with nature, there is a possibility to maladapt to seasonal rhythms, thereby leading to illness.

In our ancient wisdom of healing, there is more understanding of these physiological shifts. Bodily changes were addressed through certain dietary specifications between the seasons. This was executed through cultural and religious practices to follow a certain diet. One such example is no grains during Navratri, which is the transition period between the monsoon and winter.

There are four seasons – Spring, Summer, Monsoon and Winter. The Indian subcontinent experiences two monsoons – south-west and north-east – soon after summer and before winter respectively.

Monsoon washes away the impurities and replenishes the minerals in the soil. Unfortunately, rapid urbanisation has led to concrete surfaces, not allowing this nurturing work of Mother Nature. This leads to uneven distribution, which causes nutrient depletion from the soil. Instead of an increase in the water table levels, we see more floods and water logging. This leads to water pollution and becomes the breeding ground for illnesses.

Illnesses during monsoon

· Illnesses brought about due to disharmony in the external environment

Disharmony in the external environment brings in water-borne diseases such as diarrhoea, mosquito-borne diseases and fungal infections.

· Illnesses resulting from disharmony in the internal physiological shift

Disharmony within the body happens due to an impaired immune system succumbing to many secondary infections.

Illnesses affecting the elderly population

Other than water-borne illnesses, there are a few conditions that the elderly need to be aware of. As a part of ageing, the gut becomes sensitive and is unable to absorb nutrients completely. This hampers metabolism. The immune system is also compromised making them vulnerable to many infections and diseases.

Since there is a loss of subcutaneous fat as one ages, thermoregulation is also at a low threshold. The probability of catching chills and pneumonia is higher during the monsoon. Pre-existing illnesses such as diabetes predispose the risk for foot infections and their complications.

Tips to stay healthy during the monsoons

· Prime the gut towards the season by eating seasonal vegetables and fruits.

· Wear warm clothes even when indoors.

· Always carry a raincoat to avoid getting wet. A raincoat is preferred over an umbrella, so that hands are free if elders use a walking stick.

· Wear appropriate footwear when stepping out in the rain. Proper foot care is essential during monsoons.

· Always go out with a companion, especially during the rainy season.

· Safe drinking water is a must. Drink only boiled water.

· Avoid uncooked food from outside.

· Always wash the vegetables and fruits before consuming them.

· Avoid eating leafy vegetables during monsoons.

Stay healthy and enjoy the seasonal gifts.


By Dr Karthiyayini Mahadevan, Head – Wellness and Wellbeing at Columbia Pacific Communities

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