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Health Tips for People in Flooded Areas

Posted Oct 23 2008 2:24pm
Some precautions recommended by health officials for people in areas affected by Hurricane Rita:

WATER

_ Don't drink water from unknown sources.

_ Follow boil water alerts issued by local water utilities or the Commission on Environmental Quality. Allow water to boil for at least one minute.

_ People with private wells that may have been contaminated by flood water should use only bottled, boiled or treated water until water has been tested and found safe.

_ Sterilize water containers and drinking utensils with a solution of household bleach. Also, water may be disinfected with chlorine or iodine or with ordinary household bleach - one-eighth teaspoon per gallon of water

FOOD

_ Don't eat food that has been in contact with flood water.

_ Discard food that has been at room temperature for more than two hours or if it has an unusual odor or color. Frozen food may be safe if it is still partially frozen or cold.

_ Babies drinking formula should be given ready-made formula or powdered formula prepared with bottled drinking water.

_ Wash hands with soap and disinfected water before eating or handling food, after clean up and after handling flood water-contaminated items.

ENVIRONMENTAL HAZARDS

_ Watch for snakes, bats and other animals that may seek shelter in trees, homes and vehicles. Do not handle them and beware of displaced pets. Seek immediate treatment if bitten or injured by an animal.

_ Do not use lanterns or torches until certain there are no gas leaks.

_ Drain all standing water to prevent a breeding place for mosquitoes. Use insect repellent.

_ Don't let anyone re-enter your home while flooded unless the main electrical switch has been turned off.

MEDICAL

_ People with puncture wounds or cuts exposed to flood water could be at risk of contracting tetanus.

_ To prevent allergic reactions and other health problems caused by mold, replace porous wallboard from at least 12 inches above the waterline in flood-damaged homes.

GENERAL

_ Don't let children play in or near flood water or storm drains.

_ Disinfect children's toys with a solution of one cup bleach to five gallons of water.

_ To avoid toxic fumes, do not mix bleach with products that contain ammonia.

_ To prevent carbon monoxide poisoning, don't burn charcoal or use gasoline-powered generators or pumps indoors.

_ Disinfect all furniture, woodwork and other household surfaces in homes that have been flooded.
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