Flood Related Health Issues

flood health issuesCommunicable diseases are, simply put, contagious diseases. They are any disease that can be spread through the air, by direct contact or through contaminated body fluids. Some examples of communicable diseases include diarrheal diseases, tuberculosis, malaria, measles, pertussis, tetanus, meningitis, and hepatitis B. 

How do these diseases relate to floods? Well, floods can readily increase the spread of communicable diseases, but not all of them. We can classify the diseases transmitted during flood disasters into water-borne and vector-borne diseases.

Some of the more common water-borne diseases include typhoid fever, cholera, leptospirosis and hepatitis A. Meanwhile, vector-borne diseases include malaria, dengue and dengue haemorrhagic fever, yellow fever, and West Nile Fever.

Water’s the culprit

Obviously, when flooding occurs there is an increase risk of water-borne diseases going around due to the excess water from the floods. Moreover, the risk increases in relocation areas or areas where people are housed temporarily due to the fact that they were forced to abandon their homes because of the flood waters.

One of the major considerations during floods and mass displacement of people is where to get clean water supply. Because floods can easily contaminate drinking-water facilities, diseases like diarrhoeal diseases and typhoid fever can easily become an outbreak.

Also you need to look after other infections that could result from polluted waters. Wound infections can be one of them, dermatitis, conjunctivitis, and even ear, nose and throat infections can become a problem.

Floodwater could also lead to leptospirosis, which is a bacterial disease that come from urines of rats. Once rat urine mixes with floodwaters, the soil or even vegetation, any contact to the skin could result to the transference of the bacteria.

The air could be a problem

Aside from the contaminated waters, there are other diseases, specifically vector-borne diseases that can easily hit an flood affected area. A vector-borne disease means it is transmitted by vectors to humans. Vectors here refers to any animal capable of transmitting the disease.

So in case of flood calamities, probably the most notorious animal that spreads diseases is the mosquito. Due to high chances that standing water exists inside or near the flooded areas, if is expected that mosquitoes would breed in the millions. Although, the risk of being contaminated via mosquitoes is far less during a flood than after one. After the floodwater subsides and everything settle down, the risk increases.

The most common vector-borne disease during flooding include Malaria and the West Nile.

Other flood related risks

During floods, the risk of drowning, having injuries and trauma are higher. Be careful during wading on flood waters and also maneuvering yourself in flooded ares. Also, watch out for hypothermia. Long exposure to the cold floodwaters can easily lead to it. Children are more prone to hypothermia than adults.

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