Medical Precautions to Take During and After Flood

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A flood can wreak havoc in many ways in a human’s life. One of them is affecting their health. The recent flood events happening around us reminds us how important it is to prepare for a flood. Here are some of the useful precautionary healthcare safety measures that you can take during and after the flood to keep your health safe.

Medical Precautions to Take During and After Flood

Personal Health and Safety Precautions During the Flood

There are many ways in which flood water can harm your health. Read through the below safety precautions to stay safe during the flood:

  • Keep your emergency medicines and first aid kit ready by packing them in a waterproof container.
  • Keep bottled drinking water ready for all your family members.
  • Never drink water that has been affected by the flood as it may contain human and animal waste, industrial waste, toxic substances, cancer-causing substances, etc.
  • Try not to enter floodwater as it may be electrically charged by the broken power lines.
  • Running flood water with shallow depths can also sweep you off your feet. So, avoid entering floodwater.
  • If you have cuts or bruises on your body, keep it as far away from flood water as possible. Keep them covered.
  • Keep contaminated hands or water away from your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • In case you are forced to enter floodwater, wear goggles, rubber gloves and boots.
  • Floodwater may contain sharp objects. In case you suffered a cut, treat it immediately with first aid kit and cover it firmly

Personal Health and Safety Precautions After the Flood

It takes a while before your life gets back to normal after the flood has receded. However, there are certain safety measures you have to take immediately after the flood to avoid falling ill. Check out the below tips that you can follow after a flood.

  • If you own a well or there is one in your locality, avoid drinking water from it. It may have been contaminated during the flood and can cause serious illness.
  • When there is stagnant floodwater, it becomes the favourite breeding place for mosquitoes. So, make sure to get the stagnant water removed from your surroundings.
  • Make sure to use mosquito repellant for a few days after the flood recedes.
  • If you notice that your refrigerator was flooded too, throw away all the food items stored and avoid consuming anything that was stored anywhere in your home before the flood.
  • If you have been cleaning your home and came in contact with floodwater, wash your hands thoroughly with soap before you touch your face.
  • If you suffer any wound, during the flood, that is swollen and painful or has a foreign object (metal, glass pieces, soil), get medical help immediately.
  • Do not eat raw vegetables and fruits from your farm or garden if it was submerged in floodwater.
  • Drink only boiled water and eat only those food items that are prepared cautiously.
  • Discard all the damaged items from your home like screens, carpets, mattresses, pillows, etc.
  • In case you have electricity problems, do not try to repair it yourself. Call an electrician to get it fixed.
  • If you have many wet items at home, dry them by placing them under the sun when the weather is good.
  • Your walls and ceilings may be wet and eventually become home for moulds. To avoid this, make a solution of bleaching powder and apply it on the walls.

How is Flood Water Dangerous to Human Health?

Both standing and running floodwater is dangerous to humans in many ways. They can harm humans by causing various medical conditions.

  • This water may displace animals, reptiles, and insects. They may inflict infectious bites on humans.
  • Floodwater can also bring hazardous chemicals, carcinogenic substances, and even human waste. These may pose a danger to human health.
  • You may get injured by sharp objects that the floodwater contains.
  • Broken power lines can surge electrical charge through flood water that may electrocute you.
  • If you are stuck in floodwater for too long, you may get Trench Foot, where your legs go numb, blotchy, and painful.
  • Floodwater is also capable of causing many diseases in humans.

Some Diseases Caused Due to Flood Water

In India, we can see people suffering from various water-borne and vector-borne diseases after a flood. Coming in contact with or drinking polluted water can be the reason. On the other hand, a bite from an infectant-bearing vector such as mosquito can cause severe illness. We have listed some of the common communicable diseases that you must be aware of.

Water-Borne Diseases Vector-Borne Diseases
Typhoid fever Dengue
Hepatitis A and E Dengue haemorrhagic fever
Leptospirosis Malaria
Dermatitis West Nile Fever
Cholera
Conjunctivitis
Ear, nose and throat infections

To Conclude,

Flood not only impacts the economy of the affected region but also the health of the affected people. We have seen how the 2019 rainfall has ripped through parts of Maharashtra and Karnataka causing huge loss. Just when we are breathing a sigh of relief, owing to the receding floods, another bout of the devastating flood is hitting the coastal areas of Karnataka and Kerala. This has not only caused a lot of damage to the infrastructure but also has taken several lives.

The main reason for floods in India is poor or inadequate drainage capacity of rivers, high-intensity rainfall in short duration, failure of flood control structures, and unplanned reservoir regulation.

While our government works on the issues that lead to deadly floods in the nation, let us follow these safety precautions and take care of each other’s health.

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