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

  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. 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 thoroughly with soap to control infection.
    • If a wound develops redness, swelling, or drainage, seek immediate medical attention.
  6. 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
  • Therapists
  • School counselors