Post #KeralaFloods Rehabilitation: Prevention and Control of Diseases

Dr Roshan Radhakrishnan
The worst of the Kerala floods is over, leaving the state devastated in a manner not seen in nearly a century. The loss across most districts of God's Own Country runs into thousands of crores financially and perhaps a lot more, emotionally and psychologically.

But now is not the time to rest. Because, as the floods finally retreat, it is now time to rebuild. It is time to undo the damage.

Understanding that this is a vast topic, I am posting a series of articles here specific to various aspects of flood relief. I have been aided in this by my dear friend and classmate of old, Dr Reshma, a specialist in Community Medicine alongside guidance notes provided by the Directorate of Health Sciences, Kerala.

The topic in this post is:

Prevention and Control of Diseases After the Floods

There are many key factors to be noted in this topic.

  • DO maintain hand hygiene. It is the single most effective way to prevent the spread of many infections. Ensure you clean your hands with soap and water before preparing, serving or consuming food, as well as after using the lavatory. 
  • DO use well water only after superchlorination. (I have explained the process here.)
  • Similarly, even after superchlorination, you must boil drinking water for at least 20 minutes before consuming.
  • DO NOT use food items which have been contaminated by flood water, have developed mould, have thawed in the fridge or were left open. 
  • DO whatever possible to prevent water collections around your home, be it in a ditch or in a bottle cap. Cover ditches and drain pools. Make it a practice to go around your home and empty water from pots, containers etc once a week. Thereby you will be disrupting the life cycle of the mosquito and prevent it from developing into an adult. 
  • Also protect yourself with bed nets, mosquito repellents etc.
  • DO seek medical help if you feel unwell especially if you develop fever (with or without rash) or diarrhoea.
  • DO consume Tablet Doxycycline 200 mg (except if allergic to it or in pregnancy or age below 8 years- other alternatives are available) if you have had contact with contaminated water, so that you are protected against Leptospirosis
  • DO ensure that medicines are not interrupted for those who are on any continuous medication. 
  • DO get Tetanus toxoid vaccination in case of injury.

Prevention and Control of Diseases after the floods
The steps are also compiled in this easy-to-save image which can be pinned or saved for future use.

Leptospirosis prophylaxis
Leptospirosis prophylaxis

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