Safety 101: Amidst Bihar Floods, Here’s a List of Dos and Don’ts

Amidst the Bihar floods, here are a few tips for you to keep yourself safe in the face of infections and diseases.

Updated
Health News
3 min read
Safety precautions you should take incase you are stuck in floods. 
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Bihar floods have already taken over 130 lives with around 13 districts remaining under flood waters in the state, according the the latest reports. The flooding has affected over 88.46 lakh people, according to the state disaster management department.

While relief and rescue operations are underway, receding waters leave behind disease and ailments. Follow these precautions to stay safe.

Protection Against Water-Borne Diseases

Don’t consume anything that may have been in contact with floodwater. Freshly cooked food and dry rations should be consumed as much as possible.

Dr Sumit Ray, critical care and emergency expert, points out that water-borne diseases are one of the primary concerns in a flood-hit region.

Diseases like diarrhoea, dysentery, cholera and typhoid are common occurrences in such a scenario. One way to avoid this can be to be very particular about clean drinking water. If it’s not possible to always ensure a clean supply of drinking water, chlorine tablets can be added to the water before consumption.
Dr Sumit Ray

It is also important to ensure, in as many cases as possible, that the source of drinking water is upstream from the sewage disposal flow, he added.

Avoid Contact With Floodwater as Much as Possible

Avoid stepping in the floodwater as much as you can, and while stepping out, use a long stick/pole to check for ditches or man-holes while walking.

It should be kept in mind that currents sometimes can be deceptive, and shallow, fast moving water can make one lose their balance easily, causing injuries and further contact with infection-causing agents.

Contact with floodwater can lead to several infections, both bacterial and viral. It is important to wash oneself as soon as possible after coming in contact with floodwater since the contact makes worm infestation, often manifested in the form of abdominal infections, highly likely.

Rat Fever on the Rise

Another common kind of infection in hot and humid conditions is leptospirosis or rate fever. It is common in regions with climatic conditions that involve high levels of humidity. A flood situation inevitably causes a huge spike in cases of leptospirosis.

The use of doxycycline and azithromycin is advised within 72 hours of having been in contact with floodwater. The dosage of the medicine is different depending on the level of exposure to the water.

Dr Suranjeet Chatterjee, Senior Consultant, Internal Medicine at Indraprastha Apollo Hospital is of the opinion that the medicine won’t cause any damage. However, he points out, it should be consumed only under the supervision of a doctor or a Public Health worker.

Protection Against Moisture and Electric Shocks

If the ceilings or the walls are wet, switch off fans and avoid using switchboards. Also maintain distance from wires and electric appliances (which should be turned off). Water, being a good conductor of electricity, increases chances of shock.

Additionally, sheets of aluminium foil should be placed between furniture and wet carpet.

Taking Precautions Against Mosquito, Fly-Borne Diseases

Another important concern immediately after the floods is the outbreak of fly- and mosquito-borne diseases like typhoid and diarrhoea. It is important to ensure that water is not allowed to stagnate anywhere. Mosquito nets should be employed as much as possible, emphasises Dr Ray.

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