Health Risks |
Flood waters and standing waters pose various risks, including infectious diseases, chemical hazards, and injuries. Diarrheal Diseases Eating or drinking anything contaminated by flood water can cause diarrheal disease.
To protect yourself and your family,
* Practice good hygiene (handwashing) after contact with flood waters. * Do not allow children to play in flood water areas. * Wash children's hands frequently (always before meals). * Do not allow children to play with toys that have been contaminated by flood water and have not been disinfected. Wound Infections Open wounds and rashes exposed to flood waters can become infected. To protect yourself and your family, * Avoid exposure to flood waters if you have an open wound. * Cover open wounds with a waterproof bandage. * Keep open wounds as clean as possible by washing well with soap and clean water. * If a wound develops redness, swelling, or drainage, seek immediate medical attention. Chemical Hazards Be aware of potential chemical hazards during floods. Flood waters may have moved hazardous chemical containers of solvents or other industrial chemicals from their normal Injuries Drowning Flood water poses drowning risks for everyone, regardless of their ability to swim. Swiftly moving shallow water can be deadly, and even shallow standing water can be dangerous for small children. Vehicles do not provide adequate protection from flood waters. They can be swept away or may stall in moving water.
Animal and Insect Bites
Flood waters can displace animals, insects, and reptiles. To protect yourself and your family, be alert and avoid contact.
Avoid downed power lines.
Flood waters may contain sharp objects, such as glass or metal fragments, that can cause injury and lead to infection.
Cleanup of Flood Water
When returning to your home after a flooding emergency, be aware that flood water may contain sewage. Other health risks posed by flooding * These include drowning and injuries or trauma. Tetanus is not common after injury from flooding, and mass tetanus vaccination programs are not indicated. However, tetanus boosters may be indicated for previously vaccinated people who sustain open wounds or for other injured people depending on their tetanus immunization history. Passive vaccination with tetanus immune globulin (Hypertet) is useful in treating wounded people who have not been actively vaccinated and those whose wounds are highly contaminated, as well as those with tetanus. * Hypothermia may also be a problem, particularly in children, if trapped in floodwaters for lengthy periods. There may also be an increased risk of respiratory tract infections due to exposure (loss of shelter, exposure to flood waters and rain). * Power cuts related to floods may disrupt water treatment and supply plants thereby increasing the risk of water-borne diseases as described above but may also affect proper functioning of health facilities, including cold chain.
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