Emotional and Physical Stress After a Disaster

Natural disasters cause emotional and physical stress.

You may experience anxious feelings, depression, difficulty concentrating, sadness, anger, fatigue, hopelessness, irrational fears, and nightmares.

These are common responses to a traumatic event.

Emotional

The following sources may be able to provide you and your family with referrals and/or trauma counseling:

  1. Faith agencies
  2. Local family services agencies
  3. Counseling services
  4. Health facilities
  5. Therapists
  6. School counselors
Physical
  1. Keep a manageable schedule
  2. Make a list and do jobs one at a time
  3. Rest often and eat well
  4. Always wash your hands with soap and water that has been boiled or disinfected
    • Before preparing or eating food
    • After toilet use
    • After participating in cleanup activities
    • After handling articles contaminated with flood water or sewage. Why? After natural disasters, conditions may not be as sanitary as usual. Flood waters may contain fecal material from overflowing sewage systems, and agricultural and industrial byproducts.
  5. If you have any open cuts or sores
    • Keep wounds or cuts clean and covered to prevent infection.
    • If you are exposed to flood water, keep the cut or wound as clean as possible by washing well with soap to control infection.
    • If a wound develops redness, swelling, or drainage, seek immediate medical attention.
  6. In addition, parents need to help children avoid waterborne illness.
    • Do not allow children to play in flood water areas
    • Wash children's hands frequently (always before meals)
    • Do not allow children to play with flood-water contaminated toys that have not been disinfected. You can disinfect toys using a solution of one cup of bleach in 5 gallons of water.