(What to do before, during and after)
Biological agents are micro-organisms and toxins which can cause death or disability in human, cattle and even can damage agricultural products. Three major groups of biological agents can be used in the form of viral, bacterial and toxic weapons. Development and maintenance of biological agents are very difficult. Most of them break down quickly due to exposure to sunlight or other environmental factors. However some, including the anthrax, have a long life. Biological agents are released by spraying in the air, transmitting from animals to human, water and food.
Biological agents are released and transmitted in the following ways:
- Suspended particles in the air (aerosols): biological agents are released in the air in the form of fine dust and move miles. Inhalation of this substance may cause disease in humans and animals.
- Insects and animals: some diseases are spread by insects and animals like fleas, flies, mice, mosquitoes and domestic animals.
- Contaminated food: some pathogenic organisms or toxins remain in food and water supplies. More organisms may be eliminated by cooking or boiling water. Boiling water for one minute will destroy most of the germs. However we may need more time to kill some others.
- Human to human transmission: the release of some infectious and contagious diseases is done in this way. Human is always a favorable source of infection for some diseases.
Actions before the release of biological agents
- Install a high quality filter absorbing particles inside the building.
- Listen carefully to the warnings of authorities and officials on how to deal with biological factors.
Get prepared before dealing with problem
- To ensure that you are safe and sound, it is necessary to consult your doctor and discuss all the items. The elderly and children are very vulnerable to biological agents. Install a special filter inside your heat generating device. These filters repel the particles of 0.3 to 10 microns and filter more biological agents which may enter the house. You can use a portable filter absorbing the particles if you don’t have a central heating and cooling system.
- Managers and landlords must specify the type and the level of purification, cleansing as well as the protection against biological agents in their own buildings. They should also obtain the safety standards and guidelines from responsible agencies.
What to do during the release of biological agents
Responsible agencies may not be able to provide essential information necessary in a biological attack quickly. Diagnosis of the disease, the way of treatment and who are at risk are all time-consuming.
- Be on the alert for news broadcasting for information ranging from signs or symptoms of disease, the scope and range of risk, the distribution of pharmaceuticals and vaccine. And in case of illness, look for medical care.
- The first evidence of an attack may be when you notice the symptoms of exposure to the agent. Be suspicious of any sign or symptom of disease but keep in mind that not all diseases are caused by biological agents. Take advantage of your knowledge and apply the appropriate response and optimal treatment.
If you see the unusual and suspicious cases near you:
- Get away from the place.
- Wash yourself with soap and water well.
- Contact the officials.
- Be alert to radio and television broadcasting.
- If you see the symptoms of disease, think about treatment.
- Be careful about suspicious packages and letters because they may contain chemical or biological explosives. Be cautious particularly about your workplace.
Use filters absorbing particles
- The absorbent filters are very suitable for biological support. You may have central cooling and heating devices along with absorbent filters at home. When they are on, keep the system on internal circulation mode. Otherwise it’s better to turn it off. If you have a portable absorbent filter, take it with you to the room (which is) a shelter and turn it on.
- If you are in your apartment or workplace equipped with a central cooling and heating system, the purifier or filter of the system can largely protect you against biological contamination. However, these absorbent filters are not able to purify chemicals.
Actions after the release of biological agents
- Be suspicious about any sign or symptom of disease; however don’t think that any illness is due to a biological agent.
- Take off your clothes and put them, along with your personal belongings, inside a bag. Follow the instructions issued by the officials on the use of contaminated stuff.
- Wash your body with soap and water.
- Seek medical care and treatment. You may be asked to stay away from others or even might be kept in quarantine.
- Listen carefully to the instructions of authorities and officials through radio and television.