As was seen with the mammoth Hurricane Katrina in the New Orleans area in 2005, public water systems contaminated with chemicals, sewage and other contaminants can become carriers for major illnesses.
If sewage disposal and water purification systems are damaged in a storm, or even put out of service by a major electrical blackout, the lack of safe potable water for drinking and other uses can lead to outbreaks of such illnesses as E. coli infection, dysentery, cholera or even typhoid fever.
A lack of electricity will only exacerbate the problem if there’s no refrigeration to keep food and life-saving medicines preserved, or pharmacies are not open to dispense medications.
Here’s what to know about the possible diseases that can occur:
E. Coli is a very common bacteria that can have devastating effects – including diarrhea and severe cramping – especially for those already weakened by malnutrition and dehydration.”
To combat E. coli, sanitary practices such as washing hands and cleaning utensils and dishes is critical. If food can’t be properly stored at the right temperature, it shouldn’t be consumed.
Dysentery is a much more severe infection that can lead to dehydration from excessive diarrhea. Most people don’t realize dysentery was a major cause of death in the Civil War.
It’s especially important to rehydrate victims aggressively. Oral rehydration salts contain electrolytes that will more effectively aid recovery.”
Cholera can produce diarrhea can be so uncontrollable someone can “literally go from “perfect health” to DEATH in just a matter of a few hours from severe dehydration!”
Even a mild case of cholera is a problematic because it’s contagious and spread easily. In general, it’s not been a recent problem in the United States because of excellent public water systems. But the breakdown of those systems for a long period of time can raise the risk of it becoming a problem.
The fourth deadly disease that can happen in devastated storm areas is typhoid fever, which can cause high fever, collapse and death.
Antibiotics and lots of hydration are the proper treatment for typhoid fever, but again, an area lacking access to adequate safe water supplies runs the risk of this illness.
With all four diseases, having a good supply of bottled water in advance is highly recommended, along with a reliable portable filtration system. Also maintain a supply of anti-diarrheal medicine and foods that can be stored easily without refrigeration and safely consumed. Obviously, if medical facilities are available, go to them right away.
Take time to learn basic survival skills to help safely filter water and add electrolytes to water to help those already stricken with illness.
Given the range of risks that severe natural disasters can present, being totally and properly prepared is absolutely critical.
Source: Survival Dan 101