After the flood fury: Dos and don’ts, according to health experts

SRINAGAR: On way to recovery from the recent devastating floods, people must be careful about their health and hygiene to prevent outbreak and spread of disease, according to health experts.
As the flood water has receded from most submerged areas across Srinagar, people are busy cleaning their homes and belongings to be able to restart their lives. At the same time, the silt brought in by the water has turned the roads extremely dusty, difficult to walk on.
Speaking to Kashmir Reader, Dr Salim Khan, head of Social and Preventive Medicine department of the Government Medical College here, said the people need to follow specific procedures in cleaning their houses and belongings to prevent the possible outbreak of disease.
“The people’s houses and belongings were under flood water for a long time, so it is important that everything is properly cleaned before reuse,” he said.
“The submerged walls of the buildings shall be cleaned with detergents, and then let to dry in sun. But the wooden paneling of the rooms needs extra precaution. It shall be thoroughly washed with detergent initially, and then holes shall be drilled in the panels to let them dry from inside as well. The panels must also be sundried,” Dr Salim said.
He suggested that the fungal growth or moulds, which may have developed on panels or other articles, shall not be cleaned with dry brush.
“It’s suggested to wash all moulds with a mixture of one part of bleaching powder and three parts of water. Allow free air circulation/ventilation in rooms, don’t allow vapours to condense in rooms especially kitchens, bath-rooms etc. Allow sunlight in rooms. Later use water with detergent to clean the walls, ceilings, floors, allow natural dryness and air-changes in rooms,” he said.
Dr Salim said the people shall not use the rooms unless they are completely dry.
“I would recommend that the rooms shall be left unused at least for this season,” he said.
The clothes, he said, shall be washed with detergents, sun dried, and ironed before reuse.
“But the stuffed articles like mattress or quilts shall be discarded. There is no way to clean them,” he said.
The dust and mud on the roads is posing an apparent threat to the entire populace, not just to the people who were directly affected by the flood. Dr Salim said the dust can cause respiratory infections.
“Dust or the mud can lead to airborne respiratory infections. People shall use masks or handkerchiefs while moving on the roads, but dirt-filled masks shall be immediately replaced while the kerchiefs too shall be washed before reuse,” he said.
“People need to follow routine hygiene measures more regularly like washing of exposed body parts before returning home or keeping the surroundings clean,” he added.