What is flood? Flood is an overflow of water that can submerge land. Now, how can flood affect the people of a specific place? The overflow of water that submerges the land can swallow you, your house and everything. Isn’t it? Hence floods can cause huge devastation. But, is this the only way that floods can affect humans? No. Floods can also lead to dangerous infectious diseases. Remember, the flood that devastated Kerala the last year? It was known as “the flood of the century” and in that flood, it was Leptospirosis, the bacteria borne disease which took the lives of many. Hence, floods can affect you in many ways. Infectious diseases usually occur as an aftermath of floods. Let’s see the major communicable diseases that can occur as a result of floods.
Infectious Diseases due to Floods
Floods can lead to dangerous infectious diseases that can affect your health very badly. Water-borne diseases and vector-borne diseases are the two main categories of diseases that usually occurs as a result of floods. Infectious diseases take a lot of lives during flood times. Let’s have a look at crucial water-borne diseases and vector-borne diseases that occurs as a result of floods.
We all know the flood water is mixed with dirty soil, waste materials, and other worst objects. In short, the water is polluted. This polluted water can cause water-borne diseases such as Typhoid, Cholera, Leptospirosis, Hepatitis A, etc. Let’s have a quick view of these diseases.
Typhoid or Typhoid fever is a bacterial infection caused by the bacteria Salmonella Typhi. The bacteria enter the body of a man through contaminated food and water or via contact with polluted water. The symptoms include High Fever, Headache, Abdominal Pain, Diarrhea or Constipation, Muscle Ache, Sweating, Dry Cough, Weight Loss, and Fatigue. In most cases, Typhoid is not that dangerous as it gets cured after the required treatment is done. But in some instances, death cases are also reported. If you suspect Typhoid, don’t be late to get the consultation of a doctor. Typhoid is more common in children. We are familiar with Dr Sasidharan, a well-known child specialist in Calicut. So, if any Typhoid issues occur to your children, we recommend Dr Sasidharan’s clinic for better treatment.
Prevention: The main method to prevent Typhoid is to avoid contaminated food and water. Always eat fresh and healthy food. Wash your hands well using soaps or hand washes consistently. Vaccines are also available for Typhoid which will almost save you from the disease.
Cholera is almost similar to Typhoid fever, but in most cases is more dangerous than Typhoid. A bacterium namely Vibrio Cholarae is the reason behind this perilous disease. The disease mainly occurs due to the consumption of contaminated food and water. In some cases, infected house flies can also spread Cholera. The symptoms of Cholera include Diarrhea, Vomiting, Pelvic Pain, Dehydration, Low Blood Pressure, Tiredness, Rapid Heart Rate, Dry Mouth, and Muscle Cramps. If not treated in time, Cholera can surely lead a man to death.
Prevention: The prevention methods for Cholera are almost similar to that of Typhoid Fever. Avoid contaminated food and water is the main step. Wash your hands very well using soaps or hand washes consistently. Food should be cooked well, kept covered and should be consumed hotly. Also, don’t forget to clean your home and surroundings. Vaccines are also available for Cholera.
Leptospirosis is one of the common diseases that occur when large floods take place. In the huge flood that occurred in Kerala last year, Leptospirosis has almost taken 70 lives. Leptospirosis is caused by a bacterium Leptospira and enters the body of humans through polluted water in floods via any cuttings in the skin or through wounds. The disease is commonly spread through the urine of rats and mice. But in some cases, the disease can also be spread through the urine of cows, buffaloes, and dogs. The symptoms include High Fever, Headache, Vomiting, Muscleache, Abdominal Pain, Red Eyes and Chills. If didn’t treat early, the patient may go to a coma state and will be very difficult to come back to normal life. So if you show any signs or symptoms of this disease, go and consult a doctor as fast as possible.
Prevention: People, especially youths, are interested to walk through floodwaters. But remember the water is highly polluted and may have the presence of rat urine or urine of any animal, containing the Leptospira bacteria. So it is better to avoid too much walking through floodwaters. Experts also recommend wearing rubber boots while walking through floodwaters. Also, don’t forget to cover and dress wounds if you have any as the bacteria mainly enters the body of humans through cuttings and wounds.
Hepatitis A is a serious liver infection caused by Hepatitis A Virus. It affects the functioning of your liver. The disease is mainly transmitted through contaminated food and water. It can also be spread from an infected person. The symptoms include Fatigue, Joint Pain, Vomiting, Abdominal Pain, Low-Grade Fever, Dark Urine, Jaundice and loss of appetite. Most people affected by this disease recovers but still, early treatment is good.
Prevention: The disease is transmitted through contaminated food and water. So avoid such foods and have fresh and healthy food. Also, practice good hygiene. A vaccine is also available for Hepatitis A which provides a very good result.
Floods can cause Vector-Borne diseases such as Malaria, Dengue Fever, and West Nile Fever. The main reason behind this is that water will stand for a long time after flooding. These standing waters may act as the breeding spots for vectors especially mosquitos. Let’s have a look at common Vector-Borne Diseases that can occur due to flooding.
Malaria is one of the common Vector-Borne diseases that usually occurs in flood-affected areas. Malaria is spread through the bite of Infected Female Anopheles Mosquito that carries Plasmodium, a Protozoan in its body. Plasmodium after entering the human body multiplies and affects the red blood cells very badly. The symptoms include Fever, Headache, Vomiting, Muscle Pain, Sweating, Abdominal Pain, Fatigue and Coughing. Malaria is mainly found in tropical and subtropical climates where Plasmodium parasites can live. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), there were an estimated 216 million cases of Malaria in 91 Countries. If you suspect Malaria, don’t take a risk, it is better to get the consultation of a good doctor.
Prevention: Remember, there is no vaccine for Malaria. So the only way to prevent Malaria is to escape from the bite of female Anopheles Mosquito. So wear dresses that cover your body completely in such a way that mosquitos can’t bite you. Also, don’t forget to use a mosquito net when you are sleeping. If possible, try to destroy mosquito breeding spots.
Dengue Fever is a mosquito-borne viral infection. Dengue virus causes this disease. The mosquitos of the species Aedes Aegypti spreads Dengue Fever. Unlike other mosquito species, these species attack its target more in the day time. These mosquitos can be realized very easily as it has black and white spots on its body. The symptoms include High Fever, Headache, Vomiting, Eye Pain, Swollen Glands, Bleeding from gums or nose, Blood in Urine, Muscle, Bone, and Joint Pain, Cold and Fatigue. According to the WHO, Dengue is found in the tropical and sub-tropical climates worldwide mostly in urban and semi-urban areas. If not treated early, it is difficult to save a Dengue-affected person.
Prevention: A vaccine is available but it is not considered as an effective tool to prevent the disease. So, the same prevention methods used for Malaria is applicable here too.
West Nile Fever:
West Nile Fever is transmitted through the bite of infected mosquitos of Culex Species. Birds are acting as hosts of this disease and the mosquitos get infected from these host birds and spread this disease. It is a viral infection caused by the virus West Nile Virus. In 80% of victims, there will be only a few or no symptoms. The rest 20% shows symptoms including Fever, Headache, Bodyache, Vomiting, Diarrhea, Fatigue and Skin Rash.
Prevention: There is no vaccine available for West Nile Fever. So the same remedies used in Malaria and Dengue Fever are applicable here too.
Flood is a common natural disaster. Problems caused by floods are many and these diseases add to the misery. With these issues, just imagine if people didn’t take care of their health, what will be the situation? Already the situation is bad and then it will turn to worse. There is a high probability of diseases during flooding and some are monsoon diseases, it is a known fact. Even knowing that fact, people are not taking the necessary precautions required and becomes vulnerable to these diseases. It is utter foolishness. Why are you simply risking your life? So take the necessary precautions and try to get rid of these deadly communicable diseases. Remember life is only once and don’t allow even a small mistake to ruin your life.