Avoiding the Health Risks Associated with Flooding

  • Categories: Flooding
  • Date: August 27, 2014
Avoiding the Health Risks Associated with Flooding

Last month we provided some advice on how to prevent floods. But, unfortunately, despite everybody’s best efforts, floods sometimes will occur. In addition to the mess, inconvenience and financial impacts, most importantly, there are health risks associated with flooding. We won’t go into the details of the risks, but will provide some advice on avoiding them.

Infectious diseases

Exposure to contaminated flood water, including eating or drinking anything that has been in contact, can cause digestive diseases. To safeguard against them:

  • Wash your hands after they come in contact with flood water
  • Do not eat or drink anything that has been in contact with flood water…dispose of it immediately
  • Do not let children play in or near flood water areas…inside or outside the house
  • Wash children’s hands frequently
  • Do not let children play with toys that have touched flood water. You may be able to use bleach to clean and sanitize certain nonporous toys

Wounds

Open wounds can become infected if they come in contact with flood water. To avoid this:

  • Cover wounds with a waterproof bandage
  • Wash the wounds frequently with soap and clean water
  • Seek medical attention if the wound becomes red, begins swelling, or you experience drainage

Injuries

  • You can drown in only a few inches of water, and areas around flood water can be slippery. So if walking through flood water, wear shoes with traction. And do not let little children anywhere near flood water
  • Flood water is a haven for insects, reptiles and other animals. Keep your eyes out, and cover as much of your body as possible with clothing to protect against bites and stings
  • Flood water can also contain sharp objects that can injure you and lead to infection. So, again, stay alert and cover your body with clothing for protection

The Centers for Disease Control (www.cdc.gov) has much more information about this important issue.

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