What Are the Hidden Health Dangers of Flooding?
Flooding water is unhealthy water that can bring physical and mental challenges. Sewage, chemicals and physical sharp objects often contaminate floodwater. The introduction of contaminants to any natural environment is pollution. Chemical, physical, and biological substances are forms of pollution, and flooding water bears it all. I will highlight in this article the biological pollution and the associated health hazards of flooding water.
Direct Health Hazards
According to the World Health Organization, floodwater mixed with sewage might carry diseases such as Cholera, Typhoid, and Yellow Fever. The submerged body part in sewage-contaminated water such as legs might get infected my bacteria causing a painful itchy and burning rashes for extended periods. The stomach bug and respiratory infection are very likely as well.The most common effects of prolonged exposure to flood water are vomiting, diarrhea and stomach problems especially if people consumed contaminated food or water. The symptoms typically occur within 12 to 72 hours of exposure. According to the World Health Organization, out of 14 major floods between 1970 and 1994, only one-flood cause a major epidemic of diarrheal disease in Sudan in 1980.According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the basic precautions to cut down on infection is to keep toys away from children during flooding as it might be contaminated, and wash hands or to use sanitizers to prevent the spread of disease. People with open wounds also need to take extra care to keep them covered. Floodwater can easily cause a wound to become infected. It is hard to maintain a good personal hygiene in shelters with a large group of people. Staying in crowded shelters spread germs easily.
Cleanup Health Challenges
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention advises people to wear rubber boots, masks, and gloves while cleaning their homes and furniture. In warm environments, mold proliferates, and it might exacerbate asthma or trigger allergies.Clean and disinfect hard surface floors, walls, appliances, and countertops with soap and water and disinfect with a bleach solution. Wash fabrics in hot water, sun dry beds and sofas and spray them with a disinfectant and steam-clean carpets. Throw away contaminated food, beverages, and prescription drugs.
Standing Water Hazard
Mosquitoes thrive in standing water and breed quickly. Standing water is an ultimate media to increase the risk of infection from mosquito-borne illness such as Zika or West Nile. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention suggests people take extra care and use bug spray near standing water. Other insects might appear after flooding are ants, rodents, and reptiles. I do not eliminate the risk of electrocution due to fallen power lines or underground power lines.
Mental Health Challenges
Stress, anxiety, and depression are common mental health challenges associated with flooding. It is common to worry, fear the next, drop tears easily, desire to be alone and challenge to sleep. Some people might develop a Posttraumatic stress disorder (a disorder associated with the shocking, scary, or dangerous event). Strong bonds with family, friends, and co-workers help to recover in time.