General Article

Protecting Your Health During a Natural Disaster

Natural disasters can create conditions that encourage the spread of communicable illness, lead to unsafe food and drinking water and increase the likelihood of accidents and injuries. Here are some steps you can take to help you maintain your health while dealing with a natural disaster.

Disease Prevention

Probably the most important thing you can do to avoid communicable diseases is to wash your hands. However, disasters can lead to challenging conditions for keeping clean. Many emergency shelters offer mobile shower units. However, it is possible you won’t have access to running water, so you may want to keep an emergency stock of water on hand to use for hygiene purposes.

Food and Water Safety

Power outages, flooding and damage to structures can lead to food spoilage and contaminated water. If you’re not sure about something, you should probably throw it out. You may wish to consider keeping a stock of non-perishable food items and bottled water on hand for disaster preparedness.

Returning Home

Getting back in your home may be your top priority when a disaster has occurred. However, it is important to take safety into consideration. Observing any local evacuation orders and waiting until the all-clear has been given to return home is probably a good place to start. Once you get the OK, you may want to consider having a safety inspection done to make sure your home is safe to occupy. Consider hiring professionals to help you clean up anything that may be dangerous or toxic, such as fallen trees, downed power lines or mold contamination.

Dealing with a natural disaster can be stressful, but you can take steps to help prevent any ill effects on your health. You’ll be better able to cope with the challenges of natural disaster recovery if you can keep yourself healthy.