Water level increased above the danger mark in most of the water bodies including Jhelum in Jammu and Kashmir. The flood threat has ebbed with the improvement in weather but nonetheless the water seeped into low-lying areas. Water logging was also witnessed at many places. Such a scenario potentially increases chances of outbreak of infectious diseases, especially when temperature is bound to rise. The irregular wet and dry phases increase the hazard to public health. Affected areas become more prone to disease outbreak especially after the flood water dries up. Increase in diseases happens as flood water gets mixed up with sewage water and several other contaminants.
Some of the common diseases that occur during and post flood are typhoid, cholera, hepatitis A, conjunctivitis, leptospirosis, dengue jaundice, etc. there is need for proper preventive measures and precautions. Otherwise these diseases may prove fatal. Generally, flood water increases the risk and transmission of two types of diseases— vector-borne diseases and water-borne diseases. Vector-borne diseases are those that are transmitted through several parasites and pathogens such as mosquitoes. On the other hand, diseases such as cholera, typhoid, jaundice, leptospirosis, etc., that are caused by contaminated water are categorised as water-borne diseases.
With the surge in diseases during and after flood, the need for awareness about preventive measures and precautionary steps are of utmost importance. Proper management can help keep diseases and infections at bay.
In this context, the Directorate of Health Services Kashmir rightly asked the people to drink water only after boiling it for 20 minutes, wash drinking water storage containers, wash hands with soap before eating food.
Authorities at district level have also issued advisories and advised people to remain vigilant besides using boiled water and keeping children warm.
Experts call for maintaining complete hygiene while having food; treat drinking water with chlorine tablets; drink lukewarm water in regular intervals; drink ORS regularly; wash hands properly before having food and keep food items covered.
It is important that if symptoms such as high fever, headache, nausea, eye redness, diarrhoea, loss of appetite, etc., occur, people should immediately visit the nearest health centre or doctor. The government needs to create awareness in order to keep infections at bay. People should also adhere to advisories and maintain hygiene.