After any disaster, stress will be high and immunity low. Children, the elderly and people with chronic health problems or weakened immune systems will be more vulnerable to — and seriously affected by — communicable diseases.
Health officials stress that hand washing is the most important practice that can protect you and your family members.
You must always have some method of hand washing available to people after they use whatever toilet system is in place. Always wash hands before handling, preparing or eating food, especially in a situation where water is limited.
Best hand washing method
You don't need much water - one cup per hand washing. Use liquid soap and dry hands with disposable paper towels, not cloth.
- Wet hands with ¼ cup of water.
- Apply plain liquid soap.
- Vigorously rub hands together, palm to palm, interlaced fingers, back of each hand with palm of other hand.
- Wash hands for a minimum of 20 seconds.
- Rinse with remaining ¾ cup of water.
- Thoroughly dry hands.
Major disasters can break water and sewer lines.
Health officials advise us to separate solid waste from liquid waste.
Urine is not considered a serious health problem. You can use one bucket for urine, and then pour it in your back yard or other green space.
Feces, on the other hand, is a source of many disease-causing bacteria, including cryptosporidium and cholera. You must carefully dispose of feces to prevent a disease outbreak.
You can use your existing toilet as a feces container:
- Lift the toilet seat.
- Scoop out the water in the bowl.
- Line the toilet bowl with a double garbage bag to protect against leakage.
- Put the seat back down.
- After you use the toilet, cover the feces in the bag with a liberal dose of hydrated lime.
The hydrated lime serves a number of purposes:
- It controls odour, bacteria and flies, which can spread disease.
- It helps to dry out the waste. When it’s time to dispose of this waste, it will be easier to handle.
Listen to public health bulletins for instructions on how to dispose of the bags.