Flood may not be as deadly as hurricanes, tornadoes and typhoons in as far as the number of casualties when it strikes. However, it is known to be a silent killer, as it discreetly promotes drastic ecological changes in the area that it hits. Let us now enumerate and discuss the most common health and safety issues that arise with prolonged flooding, |
First: Cholera and Diarrhea and other water-borne diseases.
Flooding, by definition, is an natural event when massive quantities of precipitation is concentrated on a small area, thereby raising the water level to abnormal heights. Because of this, waste and other decomposing matter in sewage systems may contaminate the drinking water supply. Consuming contaminated water will not only cause indigestion, but also deadly ailments like cholera, diarrhea, and other water borne diseases.
Do not forget to boil water for at least ten minutes before drinking or using it. This kills most of the disease-causing bacteria that may be present. Do not be fully confident about the quality of the town's water supply because flooding can cut power lines, which will then automatically shut down any water treatment plant.
Second: Malaria, Yellow Fever, and other vector-borne diseases.
Floods cause lots of water to stay stagnant in a single area, and this is the perfect breeding ground for disease-carrying insects like mosquitoes and flies. These insects can transmit deadly diseases like malaria, yellow fever, dengue fever, dengue hemorrhagic fever, and other vector-borne diseases.
Use mosquito coils, insect-repellant lotions or even mosquito nets to prevent insects from biting your skin. One quick bite and it may be over, considering that medical aid may not be readily available because of limited transportation.
Third: Physical Hazards.
There may be sectors in the town that electrical grid were left intact and operational. While this may sound like a source of some relief, this is in fact very hazardous. Live electrical wires might be submerged in water, exposing passersby to the risk of electric shock. Even if a shock is non-fatal, it may still be enough to stun a person for several minutes, which is a sufficient amount of time for him to drown. Never walk on floodwater.
Another physical hazards in Australia's context is the proliferation and untimely visitation from wildlife. The Australian government recently warned locals that crocodiles and alligators might be roaming around town because of the heightened sea level. Thus, extra precautions must be exercised by everyone who's affected Risk assessment
Floods can potentially increase the transmission of the following communicable diseases:
Water-borne diseases, such as typhoid fever, cholera, leptospirosis and hepatitis A Vector-borne diseases, such as malaria, dengue and dengue haemorrhagic fever, yellow fever, and West Nile Fever
Risk posed by corpses
Contrary to common belief, there is no evidence that corpses pose a risk of disease "epidemics" after natural disasters. Most agents do not survive long in the human body after death (with the exception of HIV -which can be up to 6 days) and the source of acute infections is more likely to be the survivors. Human remains only pose health risks in a few special cases requiring specific precautions, such as deaths from cholera or haemorrhagic fevers.
However, workers who routinely handle corpses may have a risk of contracting tuberculosis, bloodborne viruses (such as Hepatitis B/C and HIV), and gastrointestinal infections (such as rotavirus diarrhoea, salmonellosis, E. coli, typhoid/paratyphoid fevers, hepatitis A, shigellosis and cholera).
Tuberculosis can be acquired if the bacillus is aerosolized (residual air in lungs exhaled, fluid from lungs spurted up through nose/ mouth during handling of the corpse). Exposure to bloodborne viruses occurs due to direct contact with non-intact skin of blood or body fluid, injury from bone fragments and needles, or exposure to the mucous membranes from splashing of blood or body fluid. Gastrointestinal infections are more common as dead bodies commonly leak faeces. Transmission occurs via the faeco-oral route through direct contact with the body and soiled clothes or contaminated vehicles or equipment. Dead bodies contaminating the water supply may also cause gastrointestinal infections.
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