Massey University's Joint Centre for Disaster Research from the School of Psychology and the Leptospirosis Research Team from the Institute of Vet, Animal and Biomedical Sciences have offered tips for dealing with stress as well contaminants from the weekend's flooding in parts of the central and lower North Island

Tips for dealing with stress, contaminants from flooding

Massey University emergency management specialists from the Joint Centre for Disaster Research have offered online tips to help people deal with the psychological impact of the floods in Whanganui and other parts of the central and lower North Island.

 The enclosed link provides fact sheet information for dealing with disasters ranging from: coping with stress after emergencies, helping children and adolescents and a guide for those who know of someone who has endured a traumatic experience.

 While it was prepared in the aftermath of the Canterbury earthquakes, Associate Professor Sarb Johal says the advice is applicable for people affected by flooding at the weekend in Whanganui, Taranaki, Manawatū and the Kapiti Coast.

The fact sheets are accompanied by short video presentations by Dr Johal, including one relating to another flood-struck community, at Matata in the Bay of Plenty, which in 2005 was devastated by floods and subsequent landslides.

 In the aftermath of this event, Dr Johal says the community felt the focus was on the physical recovery and reducing the further exposure to hazard, and they did not feel their emotional needs were being addressed.

 The resources contained in this link below are intended to offer guidance toward addressing such needs.

Meanwhile, members of Massey University’s Leptospirosis Research Team have offered advice on avoiding potential outbreaks of infectious diseases, including leptospirosis, arising from flooding.

 In 2004 floods in the lower Manawatū showed how the transmission of leptospira, a bacterial disease affecting animals and humans, can be accelerated among animals through the environment and activities such as livestock drinking out of contaminated rivers. It can then be passed on from animals to people.

 Recommended protective measures to prevent infection include washing hands frequently after contact with animals and standing water (large still lake-like pools) and wearing appropriate clothing such as boots and gloves.

 People with signs of flu-like disease or fever should see and alert their doctor about getting tested for leptospirosis.

 The Leptospirosis Research Team at Massey University investigates leptospirosis and its effect on public health in New Zealand and the production and health of New Zealand's livestock.

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