Cyclones may leave the affected areas and water bodies contaminated, apart from blowing in debris. This, in turn, could increase the risk of illnesses.
With cyclones, people could potentially be exposed to water-borne diseases like typhoid fever or cholera and vector-borne diseases (those caused by pathogens and parasites) such as malaria and dengue, says World Health Organisation (WHO). They say, “human exposure to disease vectors can be increased due to changes in the physical environment.”
In the wake of Cyclone Nisarga, it is important to not just take precautions before and during the cyclone, but also after it ends, to ensure you do not fall sick.
How to stay safe and healthy after a cyclone
Talking about the precautions to take, Dr Ajay Agarwal, director, internal medicine, Fortis hospital Noida, told indianexpress.com, “It is imperative that we boil water and consume heated food items only.”
He further advised, “We should avoid eating street food, and wash our vegetables and fruits before consumption. We should also make it a point to take bath after coming home to avoid skin diseases.”
The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) recently shared a film on dos and don’ts to follow to prevent illness in case of water logging or floods, which cyclones may result in .
1. Use a mosquito net to prevent malaria.
2. Drink boiled and chlorinated water.
3. Do not eat what has been contaminated by flood water.
4. Get all electrical equipment checked.
5. Check water and sewer lines.
6. Stay away from slippery debris and sharp objects.
Take Precaution After A #Flood!
— NDMA India (@ndmaindia) June 1, 2020
To keep yourself protected, you also need to maintain good hygiene in your surrounding areas. Clean up, disinfect, and practice good hygiene to avoid illness from bacteria, viruses, mold, and mildew,” suggests Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Here are some measures it recommends:
1. Get medical care if you are injured, sick, or having trouble coping with stress.
2. Stay hydrated to prevent heat-related illnesses.
3. Wash your hands with soap and boiled or disinfected water before preparing or eating food, after toilet use, after participating in cleanup activities, and after handling articles contaminated by floodwater or sewage. Use warm water when available. Wash children’s hands frequently (always before meals).
4. Disinfect water for washing by mixing 1/8 teaspoon of household bleach per 1 gallon of water. Let it stand for 30 minutes. If the water is cloudy, use a solution of 1/4 teaspoon of household bleach per 1 gallon of water.
For pets, stray animals
CDC advises keeping pets in a carrier or on leash when outside. They should be released indoors only after the situation improves. Pets should not be allowed to interact with stray animals. It is recommended that you call local authorities to handle dead or sick stray animals.
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