An earthquake can have a profound impact on the health and well-being of individuals, especially children and those with chronic conditions. This guide provides practical advice and essential information to help families affected by the earthquake in Herat province, Afghanistan.

By following these guidelines, you can protect your health and the health of your loved ones during the recovery phase.

1. Protecting Your Child's Health

1.2 Assess and Treat Injuries

After an earthquake, it's crucial to carefully assess your child for any injuries. If you notice any wounds or injuries, seek medical help promptly. Clean the wounds thoroughly with soap and water to minimize the risk of infection. Cover the wounds with waterproof bandages to provide protection and aid in the healing process. Additionally, ensure that your child stays away from debris and wears appropriate protective clothing, such as shoes, long pants, and long-sleeved shirts when playing outside. By taking these steps, you can safeguard your child's health and well-being during the recovery period.

1.2 Emphasize Hand Hygiene

Teaching your child proper hand hygiene practices is essential for preventing the spread of illnesses. Demonstrate to your child how to wash their hands thoroughly with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub if available. Encourage them to practice regular handwashing, especially before meals and after using the toilet. By instilling this habit, you can significantly reduce the risk of infections and diseases. Reinforce the importance of hand hygiene as a simple yet effective measure to protect their health and that of those around them.

1.3 Emotional Support

The emotional impact of an earthquake can be challenging for children to cope with. It's crucial to create a safe and supportive space where your child can freely express their feelings and concerns. Listen attentively to their thoughts and emotions, providing reassurance and comfort. Engage in activities that promote a sense of normalcy and well-being, such as playing games, reading books, or engaging in hobbies. By offering emotional support, you can help your child navigate the difficult emotions associated with the earthquake and foster their resilience during the recovery process.

2. Protecting Yourself with a Chronic Condition

2.1 Emergency Medication Pack

If you have a chronic condition, it's vital to prepare an emergency pack containing an adequate supply of your essential medications. This pack should be easily accessible and ready to grab in case of an emergency. However, if you find yourself without access to your medications, it's crucial to inform healthcare staff about your condition and the specific treatment you require. By providing this information, you can ensure that you receive the necessary care and support to manage your chronic condition effectively, even in challenging circumstances.

2.2 Seek Medical Assistance

For individuals with chronic conditions that may have acute complications, such as diabetes or hypertension, it's essential to prioritize seeking medical assistance as soon as possible. Local healthcare facilities can provide guidance and support in managing your condition during this challenging time. Reach out to healthcare professionals who can offer advice on alternative treatment options or provide temporary supplies of medication. By proactively seeking medical help, you can minimize the impact of the earthquake on your health and well-being.

3. Open Wound Care and Infection Prevention

3.1 Precautions for Open Wounds

If you have open wounds, it's crucial to take precautions to prevent infection. Avoid coming into contact with floodwaters, as they may contain harmful bacteria and contaminants. Keep your wounds as clean as possible by thoroughly washing them with soap and clean water. Additionally, cover clean wounds with waterproof bandages to create a barrier against infection and promote proper healing. By following these precautions, you can reduce the risk of complications and ensure the well-being of your overall health.

3.2 Proper Wound Care

When treating open wounds, it's important to maintain proper hygiene practices. Before attending to the wound, wash your hands thoroughly with soap and clean water, if available. Apply direct pressure to control any bleeding and gently clean the wound using bottled water or clean running water. After cleaning, pat the wound dry and apply an adhesive bandage or a clean cloth to protect it from further contamination. By practicing proper wound care techniques, you can facilitate the healing process and minimize the chances of infection.

3.3 Signs to Seek Medical Attention

Monitor your wounds closely for any signs of infection, such as redness, swelling, oozing, or increased pain. If you notice these symptoms or experience signs of sepsis, including fever, shortness of breath, confusion, or a rapid heart rate, seek immediate medical care. Additionally, consult a healthcare professional to evaluate the need for a tetanus immunization if the wound is punctured or contaminated with soil, feces, or saliva. By being vigilant and seeking timely medical attention, you can ensure that any potential complications are addressed promptly, promoting faster recovery, and protecting your overall well-being.


By following the practical advice outlined in this guide, families in Herat province, Afghanistan, can protect the health and well-being of their children and themselves in the aftermath of an earthquake. Remember to prioritize wound care, practice good hand hygiene, seek medical assistance for chronic conditions, and provide emotional support to ensure a safe and healthy recovery. Together, you can overcome the challenges and rebuild stronger in the face of adversity.

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