Amid the coronavirus pandemic, Bangladesh is facing another disaster. Flood is a common natural disaster to the river-borne countrymen, but this year it seems to be worse.
Many people, especially in the northern region, are waterlogged. River erosion is taking away houses, roads, lands.
Floods not only cause humans financial losses; they pose various health risks as well. Just as one should be aware of health problems during floods, one should also take proper care and treatment if affected.
Waterborne diseases and what to do when infected
The source of pure water in the affected areas becomes infected with the dirty and polluted water of the flood. Therefore, the prevalence of waterborne diseases like diarrhoea, cholera, dysentery, typhoid, paratyphoid, hepatitis A and jaundice increases. Symptoms include abdominal pain, vomiting, and in some cases fever. Pure water should be used for cooking, washing food and washing dishes to combat the transmission of these diseases.
For this, the water must be purified. Boil the water and put in a clean container. After leaving it for an hour, pour it in another clean container but be careful not to put all of it as there might be residue at the bottom of the first pot.
If boiling water is not possible, then use bleaching powder, alum or halogen tablets. Use one-fourth cup of bleaching powder or alum in five litres of water. The water will be drinkable after half an hour when the residue sits in the bottom. Or you can use a halogen tablet or chlorine pill mixed in 20 litres of water and wait 30 minutes.
If you have diarrhoea or thin stools, you should drink enough oral saline. A child under 2 years of age should be given 10-20 teaspoons of saline water after each thin stool and a child of 2 to 10 years of age should be given 20 to 24 teaspoons of saline mixed water. Patients of other ages should drink as much saline as they can after each thin stool. In case saline is not available, home-made saline with a handful of molasses and a pinch of salt can be taken as an alternative. Besides, rice starch, coconut water etc can also be taken. In addition, the child can be fed vitamin-A capsules and zinc tablets with the advice of a doctor.
If the frequency of vomiting and thin stools is too much, the urination decreases, then the nearest hospital should be contacted without delay.
Worm infections also increase during floods. It is a major cause of malnutrition, especially in children. For this, one dose of deworming pill should be taken by the whole family in the flood-affected area. However, children under the age of two should not be given deworming pills. Be careful while eating to stay free from worms. Avoid stale and rotten food.
Before preparing, serving and eating food, after excretion and cleaning of children's excrement, hands should be washed thoroughly with soap. Worm infections are more likely to occur as a result of defecation in open places. For this, excrement should be left in certain hygienic toilets. When using the toilet, avoid being barefoot and use sandals.
Dermatitis and eye problems
Walking in floodwater or applying dirty water on the skin is harmful to health. Bathing in floodwater, washing clothes, cleaning dishes is totally inappropriate. Children and adolescents stay away from floodwaters and not play in it because the flood water can cause fungal and other skin diseases. Consult a doctor through telemedicine if skin disease occurs.
During and after the floods, many people get eye infections caused by bacterial infections. In case of eye irritation, antibiotic drops should be used in the eye at regular intervals as advised by the doctor. Once you use an eye drop, do not use it on anyone other than the patient.
Snake infestation is quite common in flood-prone areas. There is nothing to fear when bitten by a non-venomous snake. But in case of poisonous snake bite, the patient has to be taken to the nearest hospital after giving first aid at home. One or two scars appearing on the bite site and there is severe pain, irritation at the bite site, the bite site becomes swollen, red and bleeding, drowsiness, headache or dizziness, nausea or vomiting, weakness, hallucinations and shortness of breath occur- these are signs that a venomous snake has bitten.
In this case, the patient should lie down and arrangements should be made to keep the bitten limb completely stable. In the case of hand-foot stings, tie a thick cloth or towel over the bite but make sure it is not too tight. Do not cut around the bitten area, pierce with a needle, suck the blood out, apply plant sap or dung. To keep the snake away, you can open a bottle of carbolic acid bottle and keep it indoors. But of course, keep it out of the reach of children.
Store dry food, puffed rice, biscuits, matches, water purification tablets, oral saline packets, mosquito coils etc during floods and other necessary items including documents, necessary paperwork in polyethene bags. Keep the children, pregnant women and older people on higher grounds. Do not let the children sleep in the corner of the bed, keep them the middle of the bed. Ensure the safety of the domestic animals as well.
If you see water rising in the area, go to a shelter immediately.