By now most of the country is aware of the massive destruction in New York City, New Jersey, and surrounding areas that has been brought by Hurricane Sandy. The super-storm has passed, the first portion of the emergency has ended, but in recovery areas more post-storm problems are arising. Aside from the lack of electricity for the next 7-10 days, one of the biggest problems for affected communities is raw waste being discharged into standing water that has yet to recede. Both New York City and New Jersey issued warnings yesterday that civilians should not be in contact with any standing water, including utilizing canoes and kayaks to navigate flooded streets. In the days to come, the potent mix of sea water, fecal matter, and other hazardous materials will begin to pose a serious public health threat. Control of infectious disease will need to become a priority on the list for governing officials, until the water has been removed and clean up can begin. There are precautions residents can take other than staying out of the water to protect themselves. With treatment plants out-of-commission, it is recommended that people utilize any products for handling hazardous waste that can keep them safe and healthy. Use of antibacterial hand solutions or towelettes
is a convenient and effective option for sanitizing. There are also many waterless shampoos and soaps available on the market, as well as perineal cleansers. Where clean water is available for cleansing, use antibacterial handwash regularly. On the creative end, diaper genies aren’t just for diapers anymore. If you are fortunate enough to have one of these sanitary diaper keepers in your house, use it to place contaminated toilet paper and paper towels. The diaper genie will effectively keep germs and paper products inside a tie off bag, unlike in the garbage can where there is no type of seal. If you can, keep surfaces clean, especially in the bathroom area where toilets remain stagnant until the plumbing situation is fixed. Fecal matter will filter through the air and settle on surfaces within the immediate area. Germs are easily spread this way. Clorox bleach can be used to kill off germs and there are a number of other products including Lysol Disinfectant Spray or Wipes and Envirocide Surface Disinfectant
, which are also highly effective.