A lot of people have heard about it but I noticed that there are only a handful who take this seriously. Perhaps they think it will never happen to them or worse, that this only happens to those who live in squalor or are informal settlers.
Anyone can become a victim of leptospirosis because as clean as our surroundings may be, if we step into flood water that has been contaminated by the urine of a rat, we could become infected. After all, even if we don't have open wounds, our pores are open and can absorb anything.
Leptospirosis is an infection caused by corkscrew-shaped bacteria called Leptospira. Signs and symptoms can range from none to mild such as headaches, muscle pains, and fevers; to severe with bleeding from the lungs or meningitis.If the infection causes the person to turn yellow, have kidney failure and bleeding, it is then known as Weil's disease. If it also causes bleeding into the lungs then it is known as severe pulmonary hemorrhage syndrome.
So how can you protect yourself and most especially your children from this?
1. Make sure the place you live in is always clean so that rodents will not take refuge.
2. Avoid stepping into flood water. Unless it's truly a case of emergency, just don't.
3. If you really must. invest in sturdy rainboots. Yes, they are not fashionable but they can protect you from flood water. Now if the flood water goes beyond the height of the rainboots, just don't step into it anymore.
4. Knowledge is power. Explain to your child why they shouldn't play in flood water. Kids have no sense of mortality so you need to explain to them what could happen. Sadly, we parents know that they won't believe the first time so it is our duty to keep repeating ourselves until they do.
5. If your child has an open wound especially on their legs and feet, treat it immediately with Terramycin and Betadine. Make sure that it will not get infected and that it heals within a certain number of days.
6. Share the news. Yes, it could be quite brutal but it also helps them understand that this is no laughing matter and should be taken seriously.
Prevention is cure. In the case of leptospirosis, this is definitely the case. After all, no parent would ever want to lose their child so we all need to make sure that our kids understand the severity of this matter.