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Are you rain ready?
N S Sawaikar
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June 05, 2007

Every summer, the monsoon brings welcome relief from the scorching Indian heat. However, the season also creates several problems for us, from wreaking havoc on commuters using public transport, to seeping moisture that damages the walls of your home.

If you want to enjoy the rains without the annoyances they so often cause, implement these tips on how to take care of your health, your home and your car right through the season.

Health tips for the rainy season:

It is imperative that you look after yourself during the rains, as the monsoons bring with them a host of health hazards:

~ Puddles of dirty rainwater breed germs, which give rise to a number of water-borne diseases. It is therefore important to boil and filter your drinking water.

~ Try to keep your surroundings as free of stagnant water as possible. If they are unavoidable, putting a few drops of kerosene or phenyl in standing water can reduce mosquito breeding. Use mosquito nets or repellent to keep the insects at bay.and if you get wet or have to walk through puddles, make sure that you wash up thoroughly afterward to avoid any skin irritation, or worse, disease.

~ Try to keep your food as clean as possible, and steam your vegetables well to kill germs. It's preferable to stick to light meals and avoid spicy and heavily fried foods. Drinking warm water with every meal will also aid digestion.

~ Another serious hazard during the monsoon is electric shocks, caused by rainwater dripping onto live wire. Make you sure you check the wiring, switches and electrical appliances in your house regularly, especially if you have a seepage problem.

~ Asthma patients need to be specially careful during the monsoon -- make sure there is no water seepage or fungus growth in the house.

~ Make sure your children don't play around on waterlogged streets, where the water often conceals sharp objects like glass or stones. Open manholes also pose a serious danger.

Have your home looking great all through the rains:

When it comes to caring for your home in the monsoons, your preparations need to start much in advance, before the season starts -- major renovations and/ or home repair should be completely avoided while the rains are ongoing.

Before the rains, it's a good idea to get a professional to carry out a thorough check on your ceiling and walls to make sure they aren't leaking. Her are a few other tips as well:

~ Reducing overall humidity levels inside your house is important. Make sure your rooms are well-ventilated, with enough fresh air. Air conditioners and dehumidifiers can also reduce humidity levels.

~ It's also important to keep everything as clean as possible. If you have carpets, make sure they are regularly vacuumed. Also make sure the joints between your bathroom tiles are completely sealed to avoid leakage.

~ Placing camphor or a few cloves in your cupboard can help protect your clothes from the dampness in the air.

~ Water leakage and high humidity can make termites a bigger problem in the rainy season. Check the house carefully for any signs of termite infestations.

Caring for your car during the monsoons:

If you don't want to be stranded in your car during the rains, it would be best to keep the following in mind:

~ The body of the car is the main line of defense between the water and the sensitive internal components. It's important to keep it clean and scratch-free to avoid corrosion. A wax layer may be a good idea for additional protection. Be especially careful if you live near the coast, since higher salt content in the air increases corrosion.

~ Check your tyre pressure at regular intervals, and replace cracked tyres. Make sure your tyres are properly balanced and aligned, as this will minimise the risk of skidding off a wet road.

~ When it gets wet, it's especially important to take care of your car's electric set up. Thoroughly check all the electrical components of your car: the ignition system, battery terminal etc.  Make sure your lights are working well, since visibility is poor during heavy rains.

In addition to taking care of your car it's also important to drive carefully when it's raining. Here are some useful tips:

~ Be especially careful during the first rain, or when it rains after a long dry spell, since the roads will be more slippery.

~ Drive slowly, since it's harder to slow down when it's wet. Allow for more time between destinations.

~ Maintain a larger distance than normal from other vehicles on the road.

~ Drive in the middle lane, since water tends to accumulate at the sides.

~ Avoid braking excessively.

~ Be especially careful when driving through stagnant water. If the water level is higher than the bottom of your car doors, don't risk it -- turn back around.

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