Hygiene and Health Care Information for Times of Disaster

Hygiene and Health Care Information for Times of Disaster

In times of disaster, living in evacuation shelters, a limited water supply and other factors can increase hygiene-related risks in daily life, so keeping clean and taking care to stay healthy are extra important.
Lion offers free information about hygiene and health care practices for times of disaster covering such topics as keeping hands clean and maintaining oral health.
Disasters can strike at any time, so being prepared is crucial.

Hand Hygiene

Always keep your hands clean
during times of disaster.

At times of disaster, your hands can get dirty more easily than usual, especially if you are in an evacuation shelter or another place where many people are coming and going. Keeping your hands clean at times of disaster is very important.

Places where dirt often remains after washing

  • Places where dirt often remains after washing
  • When to clean your hands

    Be sure to clean your hands carefully.

    • Before

    • After
      using the

    • After
      a diaper

    • After

    • After

Way to Clean your hands when you cannot wash with water

Use a wet tissue or wet sheet to wipe your hands and fingers clean.

Hand cleaning items to keep ready

Be ready for emergencies by keeping hand cleaning items in your emergency bag alongside other emergency supplies.

If you don’t have hand wipes, you can use a tissue instead by folding it in eighths
and moistening it with about a plastic drink bottle cap’s worth of water.

Oral Hygiene

Living in evacuation shelters or anywhere with a limited water supply can lead to inadequate oral care. This increases the risk of developing not just oral problems like cavities and gum disease, but also health issues like infectious diseases and aspiration pneumonia. Children and the elderly, whose bodies are less resilient, especially require caution.

If you don’t have a toothbrush

It is important not to leave traces of food in your mouth after eating.

  1. Tip-1
    Chew food well

    Chewing helps secrete saliva, which washes away contaminants in the mouth.

  2. Tip-2
    Use your tongue to clean your teeth

    Lick your teeth to clean them with your tongue. Wiping dirt off the teeth with a tissue is also effective.

  3. Tip-3
    Drink water or tea after eating

    Swish water or tea around the mouth to wash away contaminants.

Pay attention to producing saliva

Saliva helps wash away contaminants and germs in the mouth.

  • Massage the salivary glands
    Massage the salivary glands

    Gently massage the under the ears, jaw and chin.

  • Tongue stretches
    Tongue stretches

    Move your tongue up and down, left and right, and in circles clockwise and counterclockwise.

Chewing, biting, talking and singing all help increase saliva flow.

Oral care when water is limited

You can use just a little bottled water or tea for oral care.

  1. 1

    Using a plastic drink bottle, hold 1-2 capfuls of water or tea in your mouth.

  2. 2

    Swish the water or tea around the entire mouth, including between teeth and across the tongue.

Make sure to do this in the morning, after eating, and before bed.

If you have a toothbrush

Brushing when water is limited

Even when water is limited, brushing with a toothbrush is best.

  1. 1

    Pour a small amount of water into a cup and use it to wet your toothbrush.

  2. 2

    Dirt can gradually build up on your toothbrush, so use a tissue or other available material to wipe it off between uses.

  3. 3

    Last, use bottled water to rinse your mouth.

If you have mouthwash, using it in combination with brushing is even more effective.

Sources: “Brushing when water is limited” prepared based in part on information on the websites of the Nihon Kōkū Kea Gakkai and Zenkoku Zaitaku Ryōyō Shien Shika Shinryōsho Renrakuka

Include a toothbrush in your emergency supplies.

Oral care items to keep ready

Be ready for emergencies by keeping oral care items in your emergency bag alongside other emergency supplies.

Editorial supervision of oral care information from Tokyo Medical and Dental University assistant professor Koichi Nakakuki