FLOOD victims must avoid long hours of contact with floodwaters.
Floodwaters pose risks, including infectious diseases, chemical hazards and injuries.
Floodwaters, if they are polluted or contaminated, can increase the transmission of communicable diseases, such as typhoid fever, cholera, leptospirosis and Hepatitis A.
Water-borne diseases have been the cause of the deaths of millions of people every year across the world.
Consuming water that contains pathogenic microorganisms causes water-borne diseases.
Floodwaters can carry with them human and animal faeces, silt, toxic chemical waste, oil and suspended particles.
The occurrence of infectious diseases associated with drinking water, like diarrhoea and dysentery, is common.
Thus, we must prevent water-borne diseases by conditioning the water and making it fit for human consumption.
Preventive steps need to be taken to avoid falling victim to water-borne diseases.
These include drinking only filtered or bottled water, washing their hands frequently with clean water (never use flood water), washing containers frequently, eating cooked and warm foods, keeping the fingernails short and clean, using proper toilets, avoiding flies by disposing of animal and organic waste properly, and ensuring proper care in disposing of infant and toddler faeces.
Of the mentioned steps, washing hands is the most important method of prevention of water-borne diseases.
The authorities must ensure the availability of clean water, food and medical supplies.
Also, there should be communication and team work between federal and state officials.
Dr Muzaffar Syah Mallow, Senior lecturer, Faculty of Syariah & Law, Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia