Common Diseases After a Heavy Downpour
IT IS ALMOST zero visibility… the heavy rains made traveling by car dangerous. The roads are wet, and slowly due to the clogged drainage system, floods have conquered most part of the road giving a preview of a water world.
What is the best thing to do but to park your car somewhere safe and wait for the rains or the floods to subside? While inside your car (parked somewhere hopefully safe) gives you a lot of time to think about the rains and realize that the weather has become too irrational it can no longer be predicted with reliable certainty.
What is now considered to be the “new normal” is when the sun shines brightly in the morning and then a heavy downpour would greet you at the end of the day. What is happening is totally unexplainable. Could this be an effect of “climate change” where we have to expect the unexpected?
With this kind of weather of sudden rains, other than the inconvenience and danger it brings, its threat to health should not be ignored. Common diseases during this very unpredictable weather condition immediately rise and affect a great number of the population.
Dengue and Malaria
During a sudden downpour when it is practically raining cats and dogs - water drums, gutters, tin cans, jars, old tires and various debris - are often filled with stagnant rainwater. This creates an ideal breeding ground for mosquitoes medically identified as responsible for the life threatening Dengue and Malaria. Common victims are children and the elderly.
More often it is very difficult to differentiate the symptoms of Dengue and Malaria since both exhibit flu-like symptoms, vomiting and muscle pains.
If you are are bitten by mosquitoes and suddenly you experience symptoms characteristics of either Dengue or Malaria, it is best to seek immediate medical advice.
With continuous rains, cities and communities are usually engulfed in floods turning them into a water world. In some low lying areas, it is common to see people wading, walking or even swimming in the flood unmindful of the floating garbage, plastics and even dead animals in the water. Worse, children can even be seen swimming and frolicking in the filthy and murky floodwater as if it is a one big swimming pool.
Rodents such as rats and mice are identified as carriers of the bacteria that cause this disease. With garbage and various thrash floating in the floodwater, these rodents can be seen hopping and scurrying from one floating debris to the other carrying the disease in their urine that is mixed with the floodwater.
Leptospirosis usually result from the wading, walking, frolicking and swimming in the flood and its symptoms are characterized by high fever, muscle pains, chills and rashes. If you ever experience these symptoms it is best to visit your nearest medical clinic.
Colds and Flu
With all the germs and viruses in the filthy floodwater, it is not surprising that colds and flu are common diseases as an aftermath of a storm.
In areas where floodwaters are slow to subside, residents and travelers have no choice but to walk or wade in flood to reach their destinations. Oftentimes, with the need to travel to work or school, many are forced to walk and wade in the flood barefoot and without the appropriate gears. This scenario gives germs and viruses an unrestricted access to the body causing colds and flu.
When fever, muscle pains, chills, headache, runny nose strike you after walking, wading or frolicking in the flood, it is time to see the doctor immediately to avoid more serious complications.
Various Skin Diseases
A virus and germ-ridden flood area, prolonged skin exposure and neglect to avail of preventive medication can causes various skin diseases and fungal infections such as eczema, scabies, dermatitis and other allergies.
Just imagine the number of viruses and germs in the flood yet you can see children swimming in it without fear of anything. Parents seem to be oblivious of the dangers or what kind of disease their children can get from swimming in the flood as they can be seen conspicuously allowing their kids to enjoy and do whatever they please. It is really a very lamentable scenario of parental neglect.
Some Ways to Prevent These Diseases
Avoid contact with floodwater or better still relocate to a flood free area! Yes this is better said than done! But, if you cannot do this given your existing circumstances, the best and cheapest way to avoid these diseases is prevention.
- Use mosquito repellant. If the cost of these repellants is hard on the budget, avoid skin exposure by wearing long sleeves and pants. At night, sleep with a reliable mosquito net. Empty all containers that are filled with stagnant rainwater to prevent the breeding of mosquitoes.
- Buy a good pair of boots. Walking barefoot in the flood is one sure way of contracting these diseases.
- Clean and wash you hands. This is very basic and one of the most effective way of preventing getting sick of these fatal diseases.
- Realize that a flooded community is not akin to a one big swimming pool. If your community has been reduced to a water world, never forget that it is not a safe to swim and parents should deter their children from taking the plunge.
- Clean your surroundings. Clogged drainage systems are caused by thrash and garbage. Mosquitoes thrive in unclean environments.