As rescue operations are underway in Chennai after three days of heavy rains caused by Cyclone Michaung, the focus should now shift to how best people can ensure public health and combat the outbreak of water-borne diseases as it is often difficult to maintain hygiene during clean-up operations.
TNM has compiled a list of dos and don’ts based on our conversations with doctors. Most of these are home remedies that you can execute even without power and medical supply. Spread the word and stay safe.
> Using sari as a filter can reduce the chance of cholera and other water-borne diseases. This has proved to be an effective method of filtration in flood-ravaged countries like Bangladesh, US researchers have established. While boiling water and then filtering it would be more effective, in cases where people have no access to gas or heating mechanisms, filtering water using the folds of a sari is better than no filtration at all.
> If you do not have access to drinking water, collect rain water in containers placed on your terrace. This can then be boiled and filtered for use.
> If your food stock is running low at home, take a litre of boiled water and add 5-6 spoons of sugar and 1 spoon of salt. Drinking this at regular intervals will help in keeping the hydration levels high.
> Do not stand in stagnant water. With sewage water getting mixed with all water sources, standing in these stagnant pools can lead to leptospirosis.
> In areas where the water is knee-deep, add bleaching powder or salt to it. This works as an effective disinfectant and also prevents bacterial diseases from getting transmitted.
> For those with access to medicines, stock up on ORS packets to prevent diarrhoea and on antiemetic drugs to prevent vomiting.
> Eat freshly cooked food that’s been heated to boiling point. For those with power, avoid refrigerated food to the maximum extent possible.