Flood Health and Safety Tips

Healz and Herbz Healthcare Chennai would like to remind all residents in and around flooded areas to take precautions to help prevent diseases and stay safe. You need to be aware that the flood water, after a disaster or emergency, contain sewage and chemicals.

Here are some important Flood Health and Safety Tips to avoid illness and to protect yourself, your family and your friends.

General Hygiene

The first step towards reducing health risks involves maintaining good hygiene.
• Remember to wash hands, feet & face every time you go outside & before consuming any food.
• Keep open cuts or sores clean.
• Make sure to use waterproof plasters to prevent cuts from being exposed to flood/ contaminated water.
• Always try to maintain your feet clean and dry as it is the feet that comes in contact with all the muck and mud of the disaster the most. Wear a good pair of water-proof closed shoes before stepping out. Once back home, immediately clean and dry your feet before walking around.
• Put household garbage including bio (food) waste in water proof containers. Open garbage waste can attract animals and disease-bearing insects which may lead to spreading of communicable disease.
• Remove any still and stagnant water from your house and surrounding areas to avoid mosquito breeding.

Food

• Never consume any food that may have come into contact with flood water.
• When in doubt, avoid eating suspicious food.
• Wash raw vegetables and fruits with clean water well before consuming them.
• Ensure all utensils are clean before use.
• Avoid oily food and snacks. Eat foods that are easily digestible.
• In case the refrigerators or freezers are contaminated with flood water, discard all its contents.
• Fueling your body during an emergency can turn out to be very difficult due to the limited availability of consumables. Try to eat high-energy, high-protein foods as you will need more energy than normally.
• You can minimise food spoilage by opening the fridge or freezer only when you need to take food out.

Water

• Wash your hands with soap before and after preparing food.
• Drink lots of water. It helps in flushing out toxins from body.
• When in doubt about your drinking water, whether it is clean or contaminated, DO NOT DRINK THE WATER!
• Always try to boil water before drinking. Boiling water kills harmful bacteria, viruses and parasites. Even after filtration, if you can boil, boil and drink.
• Under no circumstances use contaminated water to wash dishes, cook food, clean clothes or brush your teeth.
• Drink warm herbal teas with antibacterial properties like Tulsi, Ginger, Pepper & Honey.
• Drink Green Tea as the temperature will give warmth & the ingredients will boost immunity.
• Try to take moderately hot food and drinks.
• In extreme scenarios, to avoid dehydration, drink water with 1 tsp salt and 1 tsp sugar in regular intervals.

Diseases

• If you are suffering from asthma or diabetes avoid staying near to the wet walls. It promotes fungus growth & can be harmful.
• If you have high blood pressure, it is best to consume very little amounts of salt else this will further boost the problem.
• Keep your body moderately hot and dry to avoid colds and coughs.
• Medicines that have been contaminated by flood water should not be taken under any circumstances.

Wounds

• Avoid skin contact with flood & sewer water especially cuts & sores. Keep them clean & covered.
• If you are injured during the disaster get it treated by a physician as soon as possible.

Increase your Immunity

• Drink lots of warm herbal teas, particularly those with antibacterial properties such as tulsi, ginger, pepper or honey.
• Exercise to sweat out symptoms of cold or flu before it develops into a full fledged fever. It enables blood-circulation improving your immunity.
• Avoid smoking as it weakens immunity. It can make us more prone to catch common cold and flu.
• Avoid consuming alcohol as it also weakens our immunity.

Physical Hazards

• Be aware of areas where floodwaters have receded. Roads may have weakened & could collapse.
• Do not play, swim or bathe in rivers, streams, creeks or lakes in flooded areas!
• Do not allow kids to play near stagnant water or water filled puddles.
• The currents in flooded waterways can be unpredictable. Always be cautious while wading through.
• All electrical appliances that may have been in contact with water must be inspected before use to avoid any unfortunate mishaps.
• Do not touch electrical equipment if you are wet or standing in water.
• If you do not have household power always remember extinguish candles or any other open flame before going to bed.
• Also, turn off all appliances at the power points as they may be affected by a power surge when the power resumes.
• Keep children away from the rain and rainy water.
• While rowing through the flood waters, boats should be used with caution. Submerged items such as signs, fences, posts etc. may not be immediately visible and can result in severe injury.

Cleaning After a Flood

• Wear proper gloves, closed slippers, eyewear and other protective equipments when cleaning up an area.
• Use proper foot protection. Broken glass, metal fragments etc. will be part of the flood debris.
• Clean & disinfect everything that got wet. Mud left from flood can contain sewage & chemicals.
• Keep infants and pets out of the affected area until the cleaning is complete.
• Clean walls, floors and other surfaces that came in contact with contaminated flood water until they look clean.
• Discard away soft furnishings and fittings that are muddy or damaged beyond repair.

Use extreme caution while wading through flood waters, returning home and while cleaning as it presents a number of risks to health. When you lend your services to help recover your home or locality, make sure to take personal protective measures as well. If you are living in a flood-prone area, make sure to keep your food survival kit someplace above the likely reach of flood water and waterproof.

Stay Safe. Stay Healthy.

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