6 Tips for Handling 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 — all common responses to a traumatic event.
How to Care for Yourself and Your Family
- Keep a manageable schedule
- Make a list and do jobs one at a time
- Rest often and eat well
- 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. Flood waters may contain fecal material from overflowing sewage systems, and agricultural and industrial byproducts.
- 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 thoroughly with soap to control infection.
- If a wound develops redness, swelling, or drainage, seek immediate medical attention.
- Protect children avoid waterborne illness.
- Do not allow children to play in floodwater areas.
- Wash children’s hands frequently (always before meals).
- Do not allow children to play with floodwater-contaminated toys that have not been disinfected. You can disinfect toys using a solution of one cup of bleach in 5 gallons of water.
Where to Get Help
The following sources may be able to provide you and your family with referrals and/or trauma counseling:
- Faith agencies
- Local family services agencies
- Counseling services
- Health facilities
- School counselors