Can Flood Protection Help Disease Prevention?


Andreas Klippe no responses July 2, 2020

Anyone who has experienced flood would know that flood-related problems last long after the waters have subsided. Homes, offices, and businesses can take years to recover from the damage. To top it off, floods also affect the mental health and cause outbreaks. That’s why disease prevention is one of the priorities during floods. We also try our best to raise awareness about these concerns in our mission to save lives.

flooded house, kid getting sick, and medicine
Recovering from flood-related diseases means spending time healing and spending resources on medicine. Both can be avoided by becoming flood-proof.

Saving lives should be enough reason to get a flood protection system. But, could there be other benefits from flood protection? We believe there are more, let us show you!

Finding the Root Cause

The chances of an outbreak of flood-borne diseases are high during and after flooding. One infection can easily cause the spread of a disease. Cramped spaces of evacuation centers are prime examples. With the current pandemic, you probably have gained a basic understanding of how a disease is transmitted.

So, can flood protection lead to disease prevention? First, let’s run through the 6 most common flood-borne or flood-related diseases identified by the World Health Organization (WHO):

  1. Typhoid is a type of Salmonella that enters the body through food or drink contaminated with the feces of an infected person. It spreads and thrives in the bloodstream. Typhoid outbreaks usually start from poor sanitation and poor hygiene during floods.
  2. Cholera is caused by ingesting food or water contaminated with the Vibrio cholerae bacterium. It can cause severe diarrhea and is fatal if left untreated.
  3. Hepatitis A affects the liver and can cause serious chronic liver problems. Like typhoid, it is spread by ingesting food or water contaminated with the faeces of an infected person.
  4. Dengue is a viral infection commonly transmitted through the bite of Aedes aegypti mosquitoes. The most common symptom of dengue is fever with nausea, vomiting, rashes, and body pains.
  5. Malaria is a pre-historic disease but was fairly uncommon. However, early human irrigation techniques enabled the malaria-spreading Anopheles mosquito to flourish. High fevers, shaking chills, and flu-like symptoms await the infected.
  6. Leptospirosis starts via the exposure of open wounds to rat excrement. Poor urban communities are usually most at risk since they are more exposed to contaminated flood waters.

Do you see the pattern yet?

Connecting the Dots

If you noticed, these diseases share the same starting conditions – poor sanitation caused by flooding. Let’s paint a sequence of events:

  1. Floods build up in congested and clogged sewers.
  2. Meanwhile, the floods put pressure on plumbing causing violent backflows of sewage water, contaminating floods.
  3. After floods, trapped waters stagnate giving mosquitos the perfect conditions to reproduce.

This is the kind of environment that allows flood-borne diseases to thrive. All of these conditions are frequently present in urban flooding.

Prevention is better than the cure as the saying goes. Wash your hands regularly. Disinfect your surroundings. Practice safe food preparation. These simple acts and the use of personal insect repellants will do wonders in curbing the risk of flood-borne diseases. Make sure that floodwaters have a way out. Don’t let them sit in the dark. The resulting pools of water can become breeding grounds for disease-carrying mosquitoes if left unattended.

Needless to say, consult a doctor or a health professional if you feel any of the symptoms for the diseases listed above.

Flood Protection leads to Disease Prevention

Flood Protection isn’t restricted to flood barriers. It can also be a comprehensive study of flood-prone areas or a proper survey of water drainways. Engineering services deal with these problems. Just as an example: RS Engineers and Flood Experts can recommend flood solutions from simple civil works to a suggested list of Flood Barrier Systems. This will avoid flooding in the future and lead to a real disease prevention at home or at work.

man not worrying about flood
You can rest easy and worry-free when you’re protected from floods.

Stay safe and stay flood-free!

To know more about flood-borne diseases, click HERE. Get free updates from Flood Control Asia RS by signing up for the FREE newsletter.

Andreas Klippe

About the author

Andreas Klippe is founder of the Asian Center for Flood Control located in Clark Freeport Zone, Philippines.

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