Friday October 18, 2019

Floods Directly Associated with increased Skin Infections in Humans

Also, visiting a board-certified dermatologist for skin-related problems is advisable

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Flooding in Texas. Wikimedia

Floods are associated with an increased risk of skin infections among humans, a skin expert has warned.

Skin and soft tissue infections can develop when injured skin is exposed to floodwaters containing sewage, chemicals and other pollutants, HealthDay reported.

In particular, natural disasters like tsunamis and hurricanes can cause major soil disruption that leads to the release of unusual infectious organisms.

“The health implications for people exposed to floodwaters are staggering and include a wide variety of dermatologic (skin) issues, such as wound infections, contact dermatitis and even electrical injuries from downed power lines,” said Justin Bandino, Assistant Professor at the San Antonio Military Medical Centre in the US.

“In cases when malnourished patients have not had access to food and clean water, even a small, superficial cut that has been exposed to these infectious organisms can result in a potentially dangerous infection,” he said.

Animals and insects also pose risks to flood victims. Bites from domesticated and non-domesticated animals increase as flooding forces them to compete with people for space in dry areas, said Bandino.

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The floods are the result of weeks of devastating rain in Queensland. Pixabay

In addition, stagnant floodwaters provide breeding areas for mosquitoes, which can lead to outbreaks of mosquito-borne diseases like Zika or malaria.

One will need a basic first-aid kit that includes supplies for cleaning, covering and treating minor wounds, as well as insect repellent, Bandino suggested.

Further, keeping on hand a basic survival kit that includes non-perishable food and water supplies is essential to help reduce the chance of malnourishment and dehydration, which both increase the risk of infection.

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“Tsunamis, hurricanes, floods and other emergency situations can aggravate existing dermatologic conditions, such as eczema or psoriasis. When possible, take any medications for current skin conditions with you during an evacuation, along with other basic first-aid supplies; this can greatly reduce the opportunity for a flare,” said Bandino.

Also, visiting a board-certified dermatologist for skin-related problems is advisable, the expert added. (IANS)

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Nano and Microplastics Harming Drinking Water for Humans, Says Study

The research highlights the current difficulty in detecting the presence of nano and microplastics in treatment systems

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Microplastics, plastic, EU
Plastic bottles and other plastics, including a mop, lie washed up on the bank of the River Thames in London, Britian. (Representational image). VOA

Researchers have found plastics in our water waste streams are breaking down into microplastics, causing potentially catastrophic consequences for human health and our aquatic systems.

For the study, published in the journal Water Research, researchers investigated nano and microplastics in water and wastewater treatment processes.

The team found that tiny pieces of plastic break down further during treatment processes, reducing the performance of treatment plants and impacting on water quality.

“The presence of nano and microplastics in water has become a major environmental challenge. Due to their small size, nano and microplastics can easily be ingested by living organisms and travel along water and wastewater treatment processes,” said study lead author Judy Lee, Professor the University of Surrey in the UK.

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For the study, published in the journal Water Research, researchers investigated nano and microplastics in water and wastewater treatment processes. Flickr

“In large quantities they impact the performance of water treatment processes by clogging up filtration units and increasing wear and tear on materials used in the design of water treatment units,” Lee said.

Approximately 300 million tons of plastic are produced globally each year and up to 13 million tons of that is released into rivers and oceans, contributing to approximately 250 million tons of plastic by 2025.

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According to the researchers, since plastic materials are not generally degradable through weathering or ageing, this accumulation of plastic pollution in the aquatic environment creates a major concern.

The research highlights the current difficulty in detecting the presence of nano and microplastics in treatment systems. (IANS)