Flood Waters: What You Need to Know About the Health Risks From Flooding by Joyce Knestrick, CRNP, FAANP
We may not be able to prevent another hurricane or tropical storm, but we can all take steps to help mitigate the health effects associated with flooding. Here's what you need to know:
- Dirty Water: Flooding lifts up and mixes dangerous things like chemicals and raw sewage, causing serious infection and illness if it gets in an open wound or is accidentally ingested. Keep an emergency first aid kit, move to high ground and if you can’t avoid the water, try to keep open wounds dry and clean them as best you can.
- Wildlife: Flooding brings animals like snakes and poisonous insects into closer proximity with people. Use a stick to poke debris and try to avoid contact with wildlife.
- Drowning: Standing water can be deeper than it looks, and even shallow water moving quickly can easily overpower strong swimmers. During a flood, avoid walking in high water, and after a flood, don’t return to your home until instructed to do so.
- Injury: Flooding can submerge and hide things like broken glass and sharp metal, which can lead to open wounds in dirty water. When inspecting your home or another building after a flood, wear sturdy shoes and avoid entering any building where standing water remains.
For more information, visit Ready.gov.
Photo: David J. Phillip/AP
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