Incessant rains over past couple of weeks have caused severe flooding and consequent damage in the city of Chennai & several parts of Tamil Nadu & Southern India. Unfortunately, this has led to loss of several lives and impacted many others, an in many cases, in an irreversible manner.
While a lot of this damage cannot be undone, there are many issues that can arise due to floods, especially on health front.
Flooding leads to accumulation of contaminated water for prolonged period of time at several places. This can be a breeding ground for several disease-causing insects and micro-organisms, which can have a disastrous impact on health of people in the affected areas. Instances of diseases like dengue & malaria are not uncommon post floods. If not kept under check, this contaminated water can cause severe epidemics which can have even have fatal consequences.
Here are some steps you can take in the days following the flood in order to avoid falling victim to health hazards.
- Boil your water before drinking & cooking.
- Avoid contact with flood water as it would be severely contaminated.
- Use mosquito repellents, as flood water would be the breeding ground for several mosquitoes & may even cause diseases like malaria or dengue.
- Be careful about what you eat. Try to cook thoroughly before eating. Avoid food that comes in contact with flood water.
- Do not allow children to play with flood water or mud or any debris.
- Clean your house thoroughly & use disinfectant while cleaning. Along with a clean house, good personal hygiene is also important.
- Wash linen in hot water, or get them dry cleaned. Things that cannot be cleaned with water or dry cleaned (e.g. mattresses) can be dried in the sunlight.
- Use protective clothing & shoes to prevent cuts and scratches from debris.
- If you are using private wells, you should get it disinfected & avoid using it before that.
- Prevent your pets from going out of house as they may become carriers of diseases.
Period following a flood is extremely challenging, considering the rehabilitation efforts needed and taking steps to prevent potential health hazards. By following these steps, one can avoid some common health issues post floods.