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Tips: Be aware of post-flood diseases and protect yourself



The torrential downpour in central China's Henan Province has caused 69 deaths as of noon on Monday, Xinhua reported citing a press conference by the provincial government.

Heavy rain not only threatens people's life and property but can potentially increase the transmission of infectious diseases.

Floods can cause water-borne diseases, such as typhoid fever, cholera, leptospirosis, and hepatitis A, and vector-borne diseases, such as malaria, dengue, and dengue hemorrhagic fever, yellow fever, and West Nile fever, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

Here are some tips to fend off such post-flood diseases.


"Ensuring the uninterrupted provision of safe drinking water is the most important preventive measure to be implemented following flooding, to reduce the risk of outbreaks of water-borne diseases," said the WHO.

A flood can lead to a large number of livestock, poultry, rats, and other animal carcasses, which may carry pathogenic bacteria to proliferate and produce toxins to pollute water and food. Besides, flooded pesticide and fertilizer warehouses, toilets, cesspools, livestock stables, and garbage will further pollute water.

So during a flood, bottled water that meets sanitary standards is the optimal option. If no bottled water is available, water should be boiled before drinking, and make sure the water container is clean.

Do not drink the water from an unknown or contaminated source, and do not use such water to gargle or wash food.


All viands touched by floodwaters should be discarded.

China's National Health Commission has listed several notices for food safety, including cautions of not eating drowned livestock and poultry, food that has passed the expiry date, and raw aquatic products. Raw and cooked food should be processed and stored separately, and leftovers should be reheated until piping hot.

Scientific diet and nutrition are important to enhancing immunity and prevent infectious diseases, especially for people with high blood pressure, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease, who should maintain a low-salt diet, sodium, sugar, and oil.

For the elderly, the young, and the pregnant, the diet should be as diversified and balanced as possible.

Home and personal hygiene

Regularly clean up the home. Ventilate rooms to prevent mildew and bacteria, and disinfect tableware.

For individuals, one should pay attention to hand hygiene. Use clean running water to wash your hands. Do not rub your eyes with your hands, especially when they are dirty.

For pre-existing wounds, cover them with a waterproof bandage, while in case of new ones, first stop the bleeding and then perform wound irrigation and disinfection.

If fever, vomiting, diarrhea, and other symptoms manifest, see doctors as soon as possible and quarantine when necessary.


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