SAFAKNA TURKEY – 10 provinces were hit hard by the earthquake centered on Kahramanmaras. In these affected cities, earthquake victims were at risk of contracting infections and contagious diseases. The contamination was said to be caused by a lack of resources in the earthquake area, and measures that could be taken, such as field toilets, were shared.
After the earthquake, the whole country mobilized to heal the wounds. In addition to the food and heating needs of the citizens affected by the earthquake, their hygiene needs must be provided in the necessary conditions. Poor hygiene can lead to many diseases. Speaking about the fact that the difficult living conditions of those affected by natural disasters can create the basis for various infections, prof. Dr. Faruk Aydin touched upon the importance of fighting infections and prevention methods. prof. Dr. Aydin also suggested a “field toilet” to prevent fecal infections.
INSUFFICIENT RESOURCES CREATE RISKS
Noting that the harsh living conditions of the disaster victims living in the region also set the stage for various infections, Prof. Dr. Faruk Aydın said: “First of all, while microbial agents that can quickly become involved in the health problems associated with the injuries of people affected by natural disasters, we are facing some dangers due to malnutrition, inadequate hygiene conditions, collective and very close contact, and the collective use of various tools and equipment.
IT IS VERY IMPORTANT TO TREAT THE WOUND CORRECTLY
Stating that the victims of the disaster are at risk of tetanus, gas gangrene, wound infections and aspiration pneumonia, Prof. Dr. Faruk Aydın continued his explanation as follows:
“To prevent these infections, proper wound antisepsis is essential in the first place. At the same time, interested persons should be vaccinated against tetanus at the nearest medical facility, since, contrary to popular belief, tetanus vaccination is necessary for people of all age groups. The environments in which survivors live together, such as tent cities and container sites, pose a risk of respiratory disease. Studies show that after natural disasters, outbreaks of respiratory tract infections are most common.”
MASKS SHOULD BE USED IN PUBLIC AREAS
Drawing attention to the use of masks for the prevention of respiratory diseases in this process, prof. Dr. Aydın said: “Respiratory tract substances are airborne and the use of masks prevents the transmission of these agents, so it is important for disaster survivors living in the region to use masks, especially in an environment where they are together. In addition, medical personnel working in the region are advised to use masks to protect themselves, patients and other colleagues. Influenza, respiratory syncytial virus and SARS-CoV-2 are the leading contributors to the epidemics of respiratory infections that concern us. Related viruses are enveloped in lipids and can be destroyed from surfaces where they are found using appropriate antiseptic and disinfection methods. To this end, alcohol-based antiseptics dissolve the lipid layer of viruses on the hands, the use of soap surrounds the viruses and ensures their removal with water. On the other hand, EPA-registered disinfectants are effective in removing related viruses from the environment if they are used to disinfect the environment. In addition to these viruses, the measles virus is a highly contagious virus that spreads through the air. 10 out of every 9 people of each age group around the patient will become infected if they do not have immunity. Therefore, it is very important to get vaccinated against measles in childhood. At the same time, we foresee that tuberculosis, which is an infection of the respiratory tract, may start insidiously and appear in the future after a natural disaster.
FIELD TOILETS MUST BE INSTALLED
Aydin, who suggested that one of the most pressing needs of people is a toilet, and one of the most pressing needs of people in terms of hygiene is a field toilet. It will be enough to dig trenches 25 cm wide and 75 cm deep in suitable places and lay boards at both ends. Those who meet their needs can enforce the closure by dumping the earth into the ditch. In this way, infections transmitted through faeces can be prevented. Because we expect in the future infections transmitted through water and food.
DIRTY HANDS CAN CAUSE DEADLY DISEASES
Many deadly bacterial and viral infections, such as cholera, norovirus, and rotavirus, can occur when fecal-contaminated hands are put into the mouth in any way. Cholera can affect people of all ages and can lead to severe dehydration and death if left untreated. In this case, we recommend that you quickly get to the nearest medical facility. Oral Rehydration Fluid (ORS) should be prepared before admission to the appropriate facility and the dehydration situation of people should be immediately minimized. To prepare ORS, it will be enough to add a tablespoon of granulated sugar, a teaspoon of salt and a teaspoon of baking soda to a liter of boiled water and mix. However, rotavirus can cause prolonged diarrhea and vomiting, especially in infants and children, and in this sense, children should practice good hygiene.
INCREASED RISK OF INFECTION FROM Flies
Aydin also ended his warnings in case of an increase in the number of flies in the region with the following words:
“In the later period after the disaster, due to the increase in the number of flies in the region, cases of arthropod-borne infections such as malaria, rickettsia and typhus are increasing. For this reason, we must not ignore the vector war. In addition, people living in the disaster area are at risk of skin infections such as anthrax and scabies in the future. Communal living quarters such as tent cities cause the spread of concomitant factors. In addition to all of the above, depending on the living conditions, infections such as leptospirosis and rabies of animal origin cannot be ignored. Cases of hepatitis A, E and poliomyelitis are reported to have increased late in the post-disaster period. In conclusion, post-disaster infection control is a lengthy process and should be considered with all its elements. Appropriate infection control measures must be taken for each infection.”
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