Kerala is witnessing the worst monsoon floods of the century, since more than a week now and prayers for the 200,000+ victims continue to flow in from the entire country. While 300+ people have lost their lives so far, rescue missions continue to look for any more losses and the government continues to improve their efforts to make it as comfortable as possible for the affected people. A successful disaster management set-up can cause a great deal of relief to the needy.

Common Outbreaks and Few Common Causes:

Rotting animal carcasses, poor sanitation, disturbed sewage, and sewer system, disrupted septic tanks, cesspits/cesspools are few of the leading sources that may lead to breakouts or epidemics and finding ways to mitigate them is obviously crucial. Typhoid Fever, Dysentery, Cholera, Infectious Hepatitis, Leptospirosis, Infections in the ear, nose or throat are the most common water-borne diseases. Among vector-borne diseases are Malaria, Dengue, Yellow Fever, West Nile Fever and more. To stay protected from all of these, it is important for the victims to take care of the following.

Primary Preventive Measures That Victims Should Keep In Mind:
  1. Avoid drinking flood water even during emergencies, or even foods with which the flood water might have been in contact with (especially children).
  2. Always boil water before consumption. If difficult, the government or other mitigation camps must typically arrange for treatment alternatives like bleach (sodium hypochlorite), alum etc. If this facility has not been provided, do seek for the same from them.
  3. Don’t trust your well anymore: Every well is now the victim of the flood and its the safest to stay completely away from consuming its water.
  4. Avoid eating stale food, food that is in containers without a lid or broken packaging.
  5. Ensure washing of hands before consumption of food; before touching your face areas with hands, and also after using the toilet.
  6. Refrain from disposing of any possible thing onto streets. Look for safer alternatives from where the garbage would not reach your food/drinks.
  7. Do not ignore little cuts or wounds. Avoid insertion of cuts into flood water. And try to cover them as much as possible. Though it may sound difficult, try to treat them as early as possible.
  8. Standing water attracts tremendous mosquitoes. While victims cannot do much except using safeguarding creams like Odomos, flood relief organizations should aim at arranging for mosquito repellent spray sessions in the affected areas.
  9. Needless to say, do not allow children to play in the water and one must not enter into waters which are higher than the knee length unless that is the last option during extreme cases.
  10. If you haven’t gotten your dose of tetanus booster in the last 10 years, approach your relief program team for the same. It’s really important to ensure your immunity levels are high.

While prayers have their own role to play, as good Samaritans, we all have other roles to play in the management and relief programs addressing to the issues of the flood victims. Whether in form of monetary donation or offering clothes, food, shelter, each act of kindness matters and let us all vow to make possible efforts in whatever way possible.

Written by MedPlus