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Flood Waters Pose Health Risk

From skim boarders to waders, flooded roads are playgrounds for young people after bad storms. But there are health risks. Here are five tips for staying safe.

Skim boarders, kayakers and folks just splashing around all seemed to have ventured out Sunday for a romp in the rain. Call it cabin fever – or just another weird Florida moment.

But be warned: Flood waters also may pose serious health risks.

The waters are a problem when they contain fecal material, bacteria and viruses. And there is no sure way for the public to know if the flooded street or playround is safe.

Public health officials offer the following tips for staying – and playing – safe:

  1. Wash hands with soap and water, after participating in flood cleanup activities or if you've splashed around in flood waters.
  2. Avoid eating or drinking anything that has been contaminated with flood waters.
  3. Do not wade through standing water. If you do, bathe and put on clean clothes as soon as possible.
  4. Avoid contact with flood waters if you have open cuts or sores.  If you have any open cuts or sores and cannot avoid contact with flood waters, keep them as clean as possible by washing well with soap to control infection. If a wound develops redness, swelling, or drainage, seek immediate medical attention. Residents who sustain lacerations and/or puncture wounds and have not had a tetanus vaccination within the past 10 years require a tetanus booster.
  5. If there is a backflow of sewage into your house, wear rubber boots and waterproof gloves during cleanup. Remove and discard absorbent household materials, such as wall coverings, cloth, rugs, and sheetrock. Clean walls and hard-surfaced floors with soap and water and disinfect with a solution of 1/4 cup of bleach to one gallon of water.

For More Information

For more information, please contact your local county health department or
visit www.doh.state.fl.us or www.FloridaDisaster.org.

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