Puerto Rico has suffered a major hurricane event, which creates multiple challenges to staying healthy and preventing disease. With the collapse of Puerto Rico's healthcare system, it becomes imperative that you take great care of yourself to avoid getting sick.
In the meantime, we've outline a few very important tips to keep in mind and share with your community:
The disturbances caused in our water supply make water UNSAFE to drink, brush your teeth or wash dishes. Whenever possible, consume bottled or filtered water. If you are using water from the faucet or from a local water source (i.e. wells or rivers), you must kill all pathogens before drinking to avoid diarrhea or serious diseases such E. coli or hepatitis A.
What to do:
- Bring water to a rolling boil for one minute.
- Add household bleach to water, stir well and let it sit for 30 minutes before you drink it.
- Clear water: 1/8 teaspoon (8 drops) per gallon of water
- Cloudy water: ¼ teaspoon (16 drops) per gallon of water
- Use water-purifying tablets or run through a filter.
With all standing water and sewage everywhere, mosquito-borne diseases such as dengue, chikungunya and zika may see an explosion. To manage this:
- Remove all recipients that may be collecting water, both inside and outside the home
- Clean debris and drain all water from your rooftop
- Use insect repellent with DEET or picaridin, follow manufacturer's instructions and be careful when using on children.
- Whenever possible, wear long-sleeved shirts and pants
Keep all food covered to prevent mice or rats from walking or peeing over your goods.
It is very important to wash all cans with soap and water or an alcohol-based disinfectant as, as rodent urine carries Leptospirosis.
At this point, there is no required vaccination, but you should get a tetanus booster shot if you have been exposed to contaminated waters or have dirty wounds as the tetanus bacteria is often found in soil, dust or animal feces. Although not related to a post-hurricane scenario, you should also vaccinate yourself against influenza before the peak flu season.
- Wash every kitchen utensil after use to minimize the presence of rodents or insects
- When dealing with dirty water, always wear rubber boots or closed shoes and gloves.
- If you come in contact with flood or dirty water, wash yourself thoroughly with water and soap or an alcohol-based disinfectant, as water is most likely contaminated with bacterias like e. coli, salmonella, shigella, vibrio, typhoid or tetanus.
- If you cut yourself, clean the area well, disinfect and monitor for possible infection signs like reddening, warm spots, pain or inflammation.
Spaces and items that have been wet have a propensity to develop mold so you should limit your exposure to fungus and mold by wearing gloves and a respirator while cleaning up or performing demolitions and repairs.
Pravan Clinic is membership-based concierge medical clinic focused on prevention and wellness, and providing 24/7 priority access to a network of Puerto Rico’s leading doctors and specialists. The Clinic has been fully operational after Hurricane María and provides primary and urgent care services from its Ciudadela location in Santurce.