Monday, 15 February 2016

Hazards Of Flooding

Flood water or standing water pose various risks including but not limited to; infectious diseases, chemical hazards, and injuries. When returning to your home after a flooding emergency, be aware that flood water may contain sewage.

Diarrheal Diseases

Eating or drinking anything contaminated by flood water can cause diarrheal disease.

To prevent this:

  • Practice good hygiene (handwashing) after contact with flood waters. 
  • 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 toys that have been contaminated by flood water and have not been disinfected. 

Wound Infections

Open wounds and rashes exposed to flood waters can become infected.

To prevent this:

  • Avoid exposure to flood waters if you have an open wound. 
  • Cover open wounds with a waterproof bandage. 
  • Keep open wounds as clean as possible by washing well with soap and clean water. 
  • If a wound develops redness, swelling, or drainage, seek immediate medical attention.

Health Risks of Asbestos

What is Asbestos?

It is a group of minerals with thin microscopic fibres that are resistant to heat, fire and chemicals and don’t conduct electricity, due to these traits it has been mined and used in various industries; particularly construction and automotive.

If asbestos-containing-products are disturbed, the fibres are released in the surrounding air and can be breathed in; the tiny fibres can become trapped in the lungs and stay there for a number of years and overtime these fibres build up and lead to serious health problems.

Some of these problems include but are not limited to:

  1. Asbestosis, an inflammatory condition of lungs that can cause shortness of breath, coughing, and eventually scarring of the lungs that makes it hard to breathe 
  2. Mesothelioma, a rare cancer that affects the lining of the lungs, chest cavity, or abdomen 
  3. Lung cancer; and Other lung problems, including pleural plaques. 

Reduce The Risk Of Asbestos

Before work commences, create an assessment of the area and take into account the possibility of asbestos. If the work has the chance of disturbing asbestos fibres then special precautions will need to be in place to ensure the safety of workers.

Any materials that are in poor or deteriorating condition may require you to take action, so check if it is asbestos, and if so, repair, seal or remove the material in order to control the risk.

Health Risks of Working In A Sewer

What is sewage?

This may be used to describe raw sewage, sewage sludge, or septic tank waste. Raw sewage is mainly water containing human waste, industrial effluent and debris, such as sanitary towels, condoms, plastic etc. The major source of harmful micro-organisms, including bacteria, viruses and parasites is sewage; although sewage treatment does reduce the water content and removes debris it does not kill or remove all the micro-organisms. Exposure to sewage or its products may result in a number of illnesses.

These include: gastroenteritis, diarrhoea and vomiting; Weil’s, damage to liver, kidneys and blood may occur and the condition can be fatal; hepatitis, and jaundice; occupational asthma, infection of skin or eyes; and/or rarely, allergic alveolitis fever, breathlessness, dry cough, and aching muscles and joints.

How do micro-organisms enter the body?

Micro-organisms can enter your body through various ways but the most common way is by hand-to-mouth i.e. eating, drinking, smoking. They can also enter through skin contact via cuts, scratches or penetrating wounds; there are also certain organisms that can enter through the surface of the eyes, nose and mouth.

Prevent The Spreading Of Germs

There are various methods that have been discovered to prevent the spreading of germs in the workplace and at home. A prime example would be to cover your nose and mouth when sneezing or coughing.

Avoid close contact. 

Avoid close contact with people who are sick. When you are sick, keep your distance from others to protect them from getting sick too.

Stay home when you are sick. 

If possible, stay home from work, school, and errands when you are sick. This will help prevent spreading your illness to others.

Clean your hands.

Washing your hands often will help protect you from germs. Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs are often spread when a person touches a surface or object that is contaminated with germs and then touches his or her eyes, nose, or mouth.

Health Risks Associated With Mold and Damp

The presence of damp and mold in your home won’t just affect the look of your house but also your health. There is a musty smell accompanied with lack of ventilation. These smells are associated with damp. The reason why we have more cases of biological agents in our indoor environment is because of the presence of damps and improper ventilation. When there is excess moisture on all indoor materials, there would automatically be the growth of varieties of microbes such as fungi, bacteria, mold and others. All they do is emit cells, spores and volatile organic compounds into the indoor environment. With these negative developments, damps and molds have been suggested to be capable of creating health problem.

It is very essential that you keep your home at a perfect and favorable humidity level. This is because allowing molds to grow and develop will only attract dust mites. Molds are well capable of contaminating every other place in your home if you don’t take any step against them. It can develop and spread to your floor, upholstery and even any carpet close to the affected area.

Because molds comes from the fungus family, it Is necessary you take steps to eliminate them, if you don’t, it will create some health related issues for both you and your pets.

Have you ever felt that damp smell? If yes! Then just know that there are fungi happily developing in your home, and the most efficient way you can stop their development is by using a dehumidifier. Now that we understand that both mold and damp are not environmental and health friendly, we also need to understand the health risk associated with the damp and mold present in homes.

Obviously, the most common health related risk associated with the presence of molds and damps in homes is its negative effect on the lungs. These effects often come in form of dry throat, cough, and wheezing. Perhaps you are experiencing this symptom. You can do yourself a favor by checking for any availability of damps and molds in your home. Are you an asthma patient? Or you live with someone suffering from it? If yes, then you need to be more careful with damps and molds because it has been discovered to trigger or ignite asthma attacks in people, it can lead to respiratory problems.

Excess damp can also constitute to symptoms which we can relate with cold. These symptoms include puffy eyes, runny nose, headache and tiredness. If you fail to solve your damp problem, then you are actually welcoming a much risky case known as flu. The reason for this occurrence is that a developed mold would form the dust mites which many people are allergic to.

To reference our point, in some years back, guidelines were issued by the World Health Organization for Indoor Air Quality: Dampness and Mold. Moreover, different recent studies have discovered a highly effective relationship between exposure to mold and asthma in children. This is much common to children who are much susceptible to asthma. Therefore you shouldn’t joke with the issue of damps and molds in your home if you want a healthy family. It doesn’t stop here. There are also relationship between damp, mold and other adverse effects like acute idiopathic pulmonary hemorrhage in infants, memory loss, or lethargy, and molds, including the mold Stachybotrys chartarum (Stachybotrys atra). Although these relationship have not yet been strongly proven. Further studies are necessary to find out the real cause of acute idiopathic hemorrhage and all other adverse health effects. Above all, it is important you know how to clean any mold in your home. The next question here is, what steps do you need to take to ensure that you are safe from the adverse effect of damps and molds? Well it is not so hard, nobody is teaching you a rocket science-like method here, they are all simple and easy to implement.

Don’t ever make the mistake of leaving your laundries to dry indoors without receiving ventilation. What we mean here is that make sure your open your windows.

Do you love to close your windows when showering? If yes! Please stop, because this is the top reason why you see those molds growing in your bathroom. Always open those windows.

If you notice the presence of damp in a particular area of your home, don’t worry, check the nearest stores and ask for a dehumidifier. It helps to eliminate any excess moisture found in air solving the issue before it result into any health problems.

Clean! Clean and clean, if you notice any sign of mold, don’t ignore, remove immediately using your detergent. This would go a long way in making you escape the health risks associated with mold and damp.

Author: Peter Brown

Friday, 8 January 2016

Slough Waters

The town of Slough belongs to the Berkshire district of England, around 20 miles to the west of central London. Slough has met with major redevelopments from its aged architecture. Its buildings have been replaced with office spaces and shopping complexes. Most of the redevelopment is still underway, since its beginning in 2009 and due for completion in 2018. The small town also saw large expansions, absorbing neighboring towns such as Upton, Cippenham, Chalvey and Colnbrook, which have all now become the area’s suburbs.

Jubilee River
The Jubilee River, located in Southern England, stretches up to 11.6 kilometers long and about 45 meters wide on average. It was constructed for the purpose of containing overflowing waters from the River Thames to relieve flooding in surrounding towns of Buckinghamshire and Berkshire. Prior to its construction, floods were even more frequent in areas like Widsor and Maidenhead. Despite its man-made properties, the Jubilee River is said to act exactly like a natural river, including its banks that have been artificially built to replace natural banks that were lost from urban development.

Queen Mother Reservoir
The Queen Mother Reservoir occupies a large area of 475 acres, easily making it one of the largest water bodies in the Southern part of England. The unique attribute about this reservoir is that its water quality improves while being retained. As the water being contained settles, larger particles will fall through to the bottom and other contaminants are degraded through natural biological processes. The water is further treated using sand filters before being transferred into London’s water supply. The Queen Mother Reservoir is a popular destination for sailing, picnicking, and bird-watching.

Black Park Lake
The entire park itself takes up 530 acres of land, with certain areas designed as sites of special scientific interest. Situated between Slough and Iver Heath, the Black Park Lake is a popular filming location and has been used as an outdoor filming space for numerous productions. Naturally, the Black Park Lake is a tranquil scene to take in with its fields of pine trees, grasslands, and wildlife. The lake is seasonally open for fishing, however keep nets and night fishing are forbidden in the area.

Unfortunately for Slough, its closest water bodies are located along its perimeters, leaving its main land prone to flooding. The Slough authorities warn that flooding can occur anywhere.

Rickmansworth Waters

Rickmansworth finds itself in the south-western district of Hertfordshire. It's a small town that has several significant water bodies sitting around its surrounding perimeters. It's name originates from a local landowner by the name of Ryckmer, with 'worth' in reference to stockade or farm. Rickmansworth is a relatively quiet town that prides itself on its humble architecture and peaceful lifestyle.

Hampermill Lake
During wars, gravel extraction was absolutely essential, which is exactly the reason how Hampermill Lake originated. Gravel was extracted from the area until the 1960s, leaving the massive ditch in the ground. It was then filled with floodwaters to form itself. The water of Hampermill Lake today is mainly used for private fishing. The view of the lake, however, is said to be slightly restricted, with 'Strictly no entry' signs plastered all around its environment due to its private ownership.

Stocker's Lake Nature Reserve
Stocker's Lake originated in the same way as Hampermill Lake; both water bodies were used as gravel extraction sites and then filled up with floodwaters. It spreads itself across a wide 90 acre radius and is surrounded by mixed woodland and willow scrub. Not only is it an attractive recreational space for locals, but its also an attractive spot for a large variety of waterbirds as well. The Stocker's Lake Nature Reserve is further surrounded by smaller lakes and rivers, including the Grand Union Canal. While other areas experienced intense weather conditions and flooding, the Stocker's Lake Nature Reserve fortunately managed to avoid being excessively overflowed with water and damages were overall unexpectedly mild.

River Chess
The River Chess runs through the towns of Hertfordshire and Buckinghamshire, and naturally streams through Rickmansworth. The overall length of the river stretches out to an impressive 18 kilometers long. The river is fed by groundwater and joins up with the River Colne at Rickmansworth. The River Chess' banks are not open to the public's  access, prohibiting any form of intrusion. However, the tinier streams that it breaks itself into are open to the public and not regulated. In February 2014, it was reported that the River Chess had its banks broken, producing flooding in its surrounding areas. Nearby streets suffered from the flooding as well as sewage expulsion. Action was taken to distribute about 1,600 sandbags for affected homeowners and inhabitants to protect their property from water damage.

Flooding Reports

Reading Waters

Reading, being one of the larger towns of England, used to be an important location during the medieval times and was a monastery with significant connections to royalties. The town of Reading finds itself within the southeast region of england and in the county of Berkshire. The entire town has an impresive population of 155,000 people, who are diversified even further into specific ethnicities. The majority of its population is made up of British Caucasian individuals.

Reading saw itself under deep waters during the beginning of the longlasting flood incident that began in late December 2013, leading to power outages, several road closures, and destruction of crops and properties. Other towns in Berkshire as well as Oxfordshire were affected, leaving over 3,700 homes without any electricity in Reading and Newbury alone.

Approximately 2 months later, Reading as well as the rest of Berkshire received 14 severe flood warnings, causing residents to be emergency evacuated from their homes. Just as local residents thought the ordeal was over, a few days after the incident, they received yet another 14 flood warnings with clean up only being able to commence on the 15th of February.

Holy Brook
The Holy Brook is one of the streams that lead up to the River Kennet. The river measures up to 6 miles in length, serving two different water mills on its course. The Holy Brook is known to be one of the few streams that came from natural origins, but nothing can be confirmed as of yet. It's suspected that parts of the brook were used to supply water to ponds and water mills during the medieval periods.

River Kennet
The River Kennet is one of the tribunaries to the River Thames. The River Kennet measures itself up to 72km long, flowing through several other towns in Berkshire. It's a significant habitat for many varieties of wildlife and plants such as grass snakes, trout, and crayfish. The River Kennet has a reputation for being utilized as a source of power for many industrial-related activities through the usage of water mills. Previously, certain parts of the river were used in the brewing and tanning industries. Due to the River Kennet harbouring a large variety of endangered and rare species of rare animals and plants, it was assigned as a SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest.

Flood Reportings