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Health and Safety Tips for Post-Rain Kashmir

Limit exposure to stagnant water as it can be a breeding ground for mosquitoes and bacteria
12:00 AM May 01, 2024 IST | DR. ZUBAIR SALEEM
health and safety tips for post rain kashmir
Photo: Mubashir Khan/ GK
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Kashmir has recently experienced non-stop rain, reminding many of the devastating floods in 2014. Fortunately, with Allah’s mercy, the rain has stopped, and the water levels are starting to go down. Despite this, we are now facing new challenges. The leftover stagnant water, along with the dirt and contamination in our rivers and streams from drainage water, presents significant health risks to everyone in the community.

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In addition to following the guidelines issued by the health department, it is crucial that we take proactive measures to ensure our safety and prevent any water-borne diseases. Here are some important precautions we should all consider:

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Avoid Contact with Stagnant Water:

Limit exposure to stagnant water as it can be a breeding ground for mosquitoes and bacteria. Ensure that children and pets are kept away from these areas.

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Use Safe Water:

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Boil or purify water before drinking or using it for cooking to kill any harmful organisms. Avoid using water from rivers and streams for domestic purposes without proper treatment.

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Maintain Personal Hygiene:

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Wash hands frequently with soap and clean water, especially before eating or handling food, and after coming into contact with floodwater or handling items that have been in contaminated water.

Dispose of Waste Properly:

Ensure garbage is disposed of properly and not left around to contaminate water sources further. This reduces the risk of water-borne diseases spreading.

Seek Medical Help for Symptoms:

Be vigilant for any signs of illness such as diarrhea, fever, or skin rashes and seek immediate medical attention. Early diagnosis and treatment can prevent the escalation of infections.

Use Insect Repellent:

Apply insect repellent to reduce the risk of mosquito-borne diseases like malaria and dengue, which can escalate during floods due to increased mosquito activity.

Secure Clean Water Sources:

Ensure your water storage is covered and uncontaminated. If your regular water source is compromised, seek alternative safe sources or request assistance from the water works department that may provide clean water supplies in water tankers.

Maintain Food Safety:

Consume only well-cooked foods and avoid raw or improperly prepared meals. Ensure food is covered and stored away from areas affected by flood waters to prevent contamination.

Prevent Mould Growth:

As water levels recede, it’s important to clean and dry homes and other buildings to prevent mould growth, which can cause respiratory problems and allergies. Use dehumidifiers and maintain good ventilation when cleaning out affected areas.

Wear Protective Gear:

When cleaning up or moving through areas with stagnant water and debris, wear protective clothing, gloves, and boots to avoid direct contact with contaminated water or objects.

Vaccinations:

Check with local health centres about the need for vaccinations against diseases like hepatitis A and tetanus, which can be more prevalent after flooding due to the increased exposure to contaminated water and soil.

Avoid Electrocution:

Be cautious of electrical hazards when returning to flood-damaged homes or buildings. Do not attempt to turn on electrical appliances or switches if they have been in contact with water. Consult with a professional to ensure the area is safe.

Control Rodents and Pests:

Flooding can displace rodents and pests, increasing the risk of diseases transmitted by these animals. Secure food sources and use appropriate measures to control the rodent population.

Community Clean-Up Drives:

Participate in or organize community clean-ups to clear debris and standing water. Collective efforts help speed up recovery and reduce health risks for everyone.

Additionally, during times of natural disasters, particularly for those who carry the heavy memories of past events like the 2014 floods, taking care of mental health becomes critically important. It is essential to stay connected with others, as sharing feelings and experiences can provide relief and a sense of community.

Maintaining a daily routine can also lend a sense of normalcy amidst chaos. To manage stress effectively, it is helpful to limit exposure to distressing news and engage in physical activities, even simple ones, which can significantly alleviate anxiety.

Practicing relaxation techniques such as meditation can also be beneficial in maintaining mental equilibrium. For those finding the emotional burden too heavy, seeking professional help from a mental health expert is crucial. They can offer coping strategies and support tailored to the nuanced challenges posed by such traumatic memories.

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