Sewage exposure is an occupational risk that many individuals face. Often, there is no warning or even foreknowledge of it. If one becomes aware, one can take the necessary steps to minimize health risks. Many health concerns are caused by sewage exposure, including respiratory diseases and gastrointestinal infections. It is important to stay away from the contamination of sewage and the bacteria in it. Here are steps one can take to prevent health problems caused by sewage.
1. Know What To Do
Once a sewage leak has been detected, one can take steps to minimize the effects of the exposure. These steps include.
- Inform the relevant authority.
- Contact a company that does sewage clean up near me to come and access the situation.
- Wash any surfaces which have come into contact with the sewage-infected water.
- Seek medical attention immediately.
- Do not touch the body or eyes if in contact with sewage.
- Wash off as soon as possible with soap and water.
- Wash hands thoroughly before eating or drinking.
- Use good hygiene practices at all times. It is important to prevent the spread of infections and diseases.
- Treat any cuts sustained on the body with antiseptics.
2. Understand The Effects Of Exposure
While health problems resulting from sewage exposure can range in severity and length of illness, infectious diseases and gastroenteritis are the most common. Infectious diseases result from direct contact with pathogens present in raw sewage. In contrast, gastroenteritis occurs due to ingestion of bacteria found in human feces or indirect exposition, such as breathing in air containing sewage particles or coming into contact with contaminated surfaces. Everyone needs to understand that any health effects from sewage exposure can be mild or life-threatening. To prevent these effects, one must know how it affects the community.
These are some of the diseases one can contract from sewage exposure.
- A cholera outbreak is caused by direct contact with contaminated water: for example, water containing feces or having been stored in a container used to transport raw sewage or waste.
- Pneumonia is caused by bacterial infections contracted from inhaling infectious aerosols containing bacteria from human feces.
- Dysentery is caused when bacteria from human waste contaminate the water source, resulting in impoverished intestinal tracts and bloody diarrhea.
- Tuberculosis- This disease is caused by exposure to bacteria that live in the human intestines.
3. Take Precautions
After a sewage exposure has been identified, everyone needs to do their part to prevent further harm and recover from their illness as quickly as possible. These include:
- Regardless of how low the concentration of pathogens is, it is still recommended to wash one’s hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds after being exposed.
- Avoid contact with people who have been infected.
- Regardless of the source, avoid drinking water from an unknown source.
- Wash all clothes or other objects exposed to sewage thoroughly with soap and hot water or disinfect with a bleach solution.
- No one should go back to work until a physician has seen them has declared them fit.
- If symptoms appear, one should go to the hospital immediately and inform the nurse that they have been exposed to sewage.
- No one should travel overland to another town without receiving medical clearance first.
4. Get Treatment
Sewage exposure increases susceptibility to other diseases. A person who has been exposed can take the following steps to help decrease this likelihood.
- Document all encounters with sewage or contact with water, including the day of exposure and the symptoms that followed.
- A person has to see a doctor who can determine whether they have been infected with a disease.
- Get fully screened for diseases that may be caused by exposure to sewage.
- Get treatment to prevent further deterioration.
- Avoid unnecessary contact with others when possible.
- Do not eat food that has come into contact with contaminated water.
- Wait at least 21 days after exposure before going back to work. Most illnesses resulting from sewage exposure usually last only two weeks, so waiting this long will make it easier for everyone to recover if symptoms do appear.
- Wash clothes and shoes with a disinfectant.
- Shower with soap and hot water. It is an effective way of removing any remaining pathogens on the skin.
- Change clothes after taking a shower.
- Do not take any medications, especially antibiotics. They can increase the risk of developing diarrhea and severe pneumonia.
- Do not use toilets or showers where people who have been exposed to sewage are using them.
- Avoid playing sports in public pools if they were the source of the exposure.
- Do not use public washrooms or bathrooms if building ventilation systems are not properly maintained.
6. Create Preventative Measures
Everyone can take some measures to prevent exposure to sewage. These include.
- Keeping the well water clean.
- Keep the household and community environments clean.
- Collect and dispose of water used to wash clothes or dishes by composting, draining into a pit, or using a greywater treatment system.
- Use plastic buckets for storing greywater so that they are germ-free before emptying them into their collection system.
- Use a local watershed source for bathing and other needs instead of chlorinated water.
- Utilize fencing to keep animals from entering areas of raw sewage.
- Construct wastewater systems that can separate sewage from the environment.
- Install upflow treatment systems that help prevent surface water contamination. It may be necessary for areas where the groundwater is contaminated by raw sewage or a pipe, becomes blocked, and sewage overflow occurs.
In conclusion, sewage exposure can lead to the contraction of many diseases both in humans and animals. It is important to be aware of the effects of sewage exposure and how to deal with it. A person who has been exposed should get medical clearance before they return to their normal activities, as this will help them heal faster if they get sick and avoid spreading their illness to others.
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