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Tsunamis: Sanitation and Hygiene

It is critical for you to remember to practice basic hygiene during the emergency period. Always wash your hands with soap and water that has been boiled or disinfected. Warm water is best.

Examples of when to wash your hands include:

  • before preparing or eating food;
  • after toilet use;
  • after participating in flood cleanup activities; and
  • after handling articles contaminated with flood water or sewage.

When clean water is not available, you can use alcohol-based products made for washing hands. More tips on hand washing are available on the page Hand Hygiene After a Disaster.

Flood waters may contain fecal material from overflowing sewage systems, and agricultural and industrial byproducts. Although skin contact with flood water does not, by itself, pose a serious health risk, there is some risk of disease from eating or drinking anything contaminated with flood water. If you have any open cuts or sores that will be exposed to flood water, keep them as clean as possible by washing well with soap to control infection. If a wound develops redness, swelling, or drainage, seek immediate medical attention.

In addition, parents need to help children avoid waterborne illness. Do not allow children to play in flood water areas, wash children's hands frequently (always before meals), and do not allow children to play with flood-water contaminated toys that have not been disinfected. You can disinfect toys using a solution of one cup of bleach in 5 gallons of water. Some toys, such as stuffed animals and baby toys, cannot be disinfected; they should be discarded.

See Also…

Ready: Prepare. Plan. Stay Informed.Social Media at CDC Emergency

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