Mumbai Flood: Infection Risks & Ways To Prevent Them

By: Shabana

It has been over 48 hours now and the financial capital of India, Mumbai has been reeling under serious flood conditions. The normal life of every resident seems to be paralyzed.

There has been water logging in every part of the city. With waist-deep water, wading through has become near impossible. Transportation has come to a standstill.

The municipal authorities as well as the Government are struggling hard to restore normalcy in the city. As per the records, this has been the worst ever rainfall in Mumbai in the past 12 years.

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In situations like this, apart from the loss of property and regular destruction, floods pose a lot of health risks to the people.

From the history that is available from across the world, it has been noted that spreading of infections following the flood have been a common sight.

Here is a list of a few of the common infections and diseases that floods can bring and also ways to prevent them. Check them out.

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1) Water-borne Diseases

There are a lot of sources through which diseases are spread during the floods. The primary cause for spread of infection is water. Water-borne diseases such as typhoid, cholera and gastroentritis are common.

Flood water is generally contaminated with different pollutants such as sewage, pesticides, human and animal waste, garbage or building material. This makes it easy for diseases to spread through water. Diarrhoea is also very common among the flood affected victims.

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2) Contaminated Food

Another source through which infections are spread is food. Food is the basic necessity for life. But during floods, the flood water contaminates all food items including food crops. Stored food is also either affected by contaminated water or spoiled through power failures.

Packaged food which has not come in contact with the flood water may also be contaminated due to risk of growth of bacteria because of the high moisture content.

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3) Vector-borne Diseases

Flood water may be stagnant in many places, which is a perfect breeding ground for mosquitoes. These pesky insects worsen the situation even further by spreading diseases such as dengue and malaria. Also, activities of rodents such as rats become rampant during the floods. They carry viruses and diseases which cause leptospirosis or Weil's disease in humans.

It is important to take considerable preventive measures during such crisis.

Following are some ways in which you can cut the risk of such diseases during the floods:

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1) Chlorination Of Water

Adding chlorine to water will kill the harmful bacteria and other disease-causing microbes. This is the easiest way to de-contaminate water and prevent water-borne diseases. Chlorinated water is safe for drinking too.

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2) Using Mosquito Nets

It is very important to save ourselves from mosquito bites as they cause illnesses like dengue and malaria. Using preventive measures like installation of mosquito nets, using mosquito coils or applying mosquito-repellent creams will create aprotective barrier against them. Wearing full sleeves or pants are also effective against mosquito bites.

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3) Drinking Boiled Water

In emergency situations like floods, it is important to take care before consuming water as there may be a risk of it being contaminated. Water from any source should be filtered and boiled before drinking at all cost to prevent water-borne diseases.

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4) Getting Checked Immediately If Symptoms Occur

Visiting a medical practitioner immediately if symptoms of dengue or malaria occur is highly recommended. Symptoms like high fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, chills, headache and muscle pain should not be avoided in case of floods. Diagnosing these diseases early on will help in better treatment and faster recovery.

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5) Dressing Up Open Wounds

Open wounds have a higher risk of getting infected as they provide direct access to the human body. Make sure to keep open wounds if any, covered and away from flood water.

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6) Avoiding Areas With Stagnant Flood Water

Avoid areas which are highly affected with flood water. Also, avoid walking in these waters. In case of contact with flood water, wash the legs immediately to get rid of any bacteria or viruses.

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7) Throw Out Things Which Are Badly Affected By Flood Water

Every household item should be thoroughly washed with hot water before using it again. If a few things are totally drenched in flood water, discard it immediately.

Read more about: mumbai, flood, infection, monsoon, dengue, malaria
Story first published: Wednesday, August 30, 2017, 15:48 [IST]
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