Now rising is the threat of water-borne diseases, such as cholera and acute watery diarrhoea, which are easily spread through contaminated floodwater.
Every year during the rainy season in Nigeria, flood inundates many states, from north to south. Many health hazards are generated as a result, which may from mild to severe situations. In 2018, more than 1.9 million persons were affected by floods across 12 states in Nigeria. More than half a million of them were displaced from their homes.
Weather conditions, such as rainfall, flood and humidity as we currently experience have well-documented effects on the spread of infectious diseases. Prolonged periods of heavy rain increase the opportunities for vector-borne diseases to thrive and spread easily. Home is where the heart is. To ensure you create and maintain a healthy and infection-free environment, here are tips to protect your whole family from being infected this season;
1. Clean Your Hands: Everyone at home especially the children should practice hand washing and make it a family culture both within and outside the home. The use of soap and clean warm or running water to wash our hands or alcohol-based hand sanitizers where water and soap is not within reach cannot be over-emphasized. Rub the sanitizer all over your hands, especially under your nails and between your fingers, until your hands are dry. Children and adults alike are encouraged to clean their hands before touching or eating food. Clean them after you use the bathroom, take out the trash, change a diaper, visit someone who is ill, or play with a pet. Parents must keep their children away from those with infectious illnesses while playing with friends in the neighbourhood or at school. Parents should also ensure that their child’s nails are always clean to prevent accumulation of germs and dirt; to ensure proper washing of hands and legs.
3.Avoid eating out and drinking contaminated water: Preparing meals at home will protect the family from waterborne diseases such as, cholera, typhoid, diarrhoea etc. Foodborne illnesses frequently arise from poor food preparation especially by public food vendors you do not know as well as drinking contaminated water. Be smart about healthy food preparation and carry your own water from home. Cook and pack your lunch boxes for everyone to avoid buying food or eating junk foods in public. Keep counters and other kitchen surfaces clean when preparing meals. In addition, promptly refrigerate leftovers. Do not let cooked foods remain at room temperature for an extended period.
4. Boost your immune with fruits and vegetables: Eating healthy balanced meals is especially important to building a strong immune system in fighting the spread of viruses at this season. Fruits, vegetables such as oranges, grapes, tangerines, papaya, red bell pepper, broccoli, kiwi, garlic, ginger, spinach, almonds, yogurt, shell fish, poultry foods are all great immune boosters. The lunch box is incomplete without fruits or vegetables this season.
5. Wear well covering clothing to avoid catching a cold, cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing. Many diseases are spread through sneezes and coughs. When you sneeze or cough, the germs can travel 3 feet or more! Cover your mouth and nose to prevent the spread of infection to others. Keep tissues handy at home, at work and in your pocket. Be sure to throw away used tissues and then clean your hands. If you do not have a tissue, cover your mouth and nose with the bend of your elbow or hands.
6. Disinfect your home: these include the kitchen and bathroom — two rooms that can have a high concentration of bacteria and other infectious agents. keep surfaces germ-free; viruses and bacteria can live on surfaces for hours or even days. That public keyboard, phone, doorknob, pen, and water cooler are likely covered in illness-causing germs. Ensure cleanness of all surfaces always.
7. Get vaccinated: Immunization can drastically reduce our chances of contracting many diseases. Keep your recommended vaccinations and that of your children up to date. Get vaccinated to avoid disease and fight the spread of infection. Check with your doctor about shots you may need. Vaccinations are available to prevent these diseases: Chicken pox, Measles, Meningitis, Mumps, Hepatitis, Flu – Influenza, Whooping cough (Pertussis), Pneumonia (Streptococcus pneumoniae), Human papillomavirus (HPV).
8. Exercise: Getting your heart rate up every day (ideally for at least 30 min) can help stave off illness. Your heart will become stronger, and your immune system will be better able to fight infection if you are healthy and active. If you are already sick, follow this simple rule of thumb: if you are sick above the neck with sneezing and congestion, go ahead and exercise. If you have a high fever, cough or chills, get some rest and resume exercise when you are feeling better. Rest up to work out.