The South Indian state of Kerala, popularly known as the God’s own country has been witnessing widespread floods. With over 300 deaths, one of India’s favorite tourist destination has been reeling under torrential rains. Official news sources has cited that more than 20,000 houses and 6,000 miles of roads have been destroyed with over thousands rendered homeless.

Epic floods like these can cause serious water-borne health concerns due to contaminated waterand mosquitoes. People impacted by floods and who are returning home from refugee camps are strictly advised to take precautions since the chances of disease outbreaks such as diarrhoea, rat fever and jaundice are very high.

It is highly recommended to follow these practices to maintain safety and hygiene:

What you should do:

  • Use bleaching powder to clean wells and tanks or any water storage area
  • Verify septic tanks for any cracks or holes
  • Keep surroundings clean always and take the advice of public health personnel
  • Do not eat stale food
  • Always wash any vessel with boiled water
  • Wash hands with antiseptic and walk with footwear
  • Take extreme caution while moving around, stay away from electric poles, broken bridges, glass and other sharp objects
  • Use mosquito nets and repellents
  • Keep up with the latest weather and flood bulletins
  • Always be in touch with local relief officials and listen to their instructions, cooperate and support them, avoid any arguments

What you should not do:

  • Do not drive through flood water and do not step into loose sand or swamps
  • Do not walk on moving water
  • Do not leave any safety shelter
  • Stay away from gutters and drains
  • Do not allow children to move around
  • Do not wade through moving flood waters
  • Do not use toilets if sewage pipes are damaged

Important note on water safety: For cleaning the underground or overhead water tank, empty the tank and use bleaching powder to thoroughly clean the tank. Use 2 tablespoons of bleaching powder for every 1000 liters of water. You can get the powder from local relief personnel or public health officials.

Food safety tips:
A UL study states that in case of any loss of electricity, an unopened refrigerator can keep food safe for about four hours. In case of any foul smell, discard the food.
For meat based foods, milk or any leftovers, use a clean sanitized food thermometer. Foods which have sustained a temperature of more than 40oF for more than two hours should be discarded. Never cook or reheat such food. You can also use this guide from U.S. Health Department to estimate the level of food safety.

Electrical safety tips:
UL recommends to practice utmost caution since the dangers of hidden electrical dangers are hidden and can cause sudden damage.

Please adhere to these precautions:

  • If you are wet, do not touch or turn on electrical appliances or circuit breakers
  • Do not use lamps or vacuum cleaners if they are wet, use only when dry
  • Do not flip a switch or plug in an appliance without the consent of an electrician
  • Check the wiring of the home by a professional technician
  • Avoid portable generators since it produces carbon monoxide which can cause headaches, dizziness, fatigue and breathing issues