Flood waters is all too common with the 2017 hurricane season, which has proven to be one of the more active in recent years. The images of the flooding devastation in Texas, Florida and the islands reminds us that even if you are not in the direct path of a hurricane, you can be dealt with a difficult situation. Urban flooding can pose severe health risk when the water rises. Of course flood water is dirty and can hide injury risks right under the water. The water itself can contain chemicals and infectious diseases as well.
So what are some of the risks of flood waters?
Try to avoid unnecessary contact with the flood waters. This would include activities such as swimming or horseplay in the water, especially with kids. If possible try to clean hands practice good hygiene after any contact with flood water. Make sure every one washes their hands a good as possible, especially kids and older persons at mealtime. It may seem simply, but don’t let kids play with toys that have been in contact with flood waters without cleaning them thoroughly. Not sure how to clean a toy so that it is safe for your children? Visit this link for tips on how to do so. If you ingest flood water from swimming, or if its on your hands and you do not clean properly you can put yourself in risk for diarrheal diseases. If you or someone around you does get sick with diarrhea then please make sure they drink plenty of water and get to a doctors for treatment as soon as possible.
If you have cuts, or you have injured yourself you especially need to avoid the flood waters if at all possible. If you have a first aid kit, please cover open wounds with a water proof bandage. Make sure you keep wounds clean even if they are bandaged up. Washing them with clean water and soap may help in reducing your chances of developing an infection. For more tips on how to properly clean an open cut, read this article from the CDC. Flood waters contain human and animal raw sewage. Decomposing waste, garbage animals and possibly humans can also contaminate the water as well. If open redness, swelling or drainage starts occurring, please seek medical attention to avoid a serious of life threatening infection.
When returning to your home after a flooding emergency, be aware that flood water may contain sewage. For more information on how to protect yourself and your family, visit CDC’s Flood Water After a Disaster or Emergency.