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After the flood: preventing injuries and illness





SOUTH DAKOTA DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 08, 2011
CONTACT: Bill Chalcraft, 773-3361
 
After the flood: preventing injuries and illness
PIERRE, S.D. – Good hygiene and cleanliness are the keys to minimizing the risk of disease and illness following a flood, says the state Department of Health.
The department recommends the following personal precautions during flood cleanup:
  • Wash your hands with plenty of soap and clean, warm water before preparing or eating food, handling a baby, or any activity that involves touching something that may enter a person’s mouth.
  • Do not let children play in floodwaters or areas that have been flooded. Disinfect contaminated toys in a solution of 1 ounce of bleach (1/8 cup) in 2 gallons of water.
  • Use bottled, boiled or chemically disinfected water for washing hands and brushing teeth if no regular safe water supply is available.
  • During cleanup wear rubber boots and waterproof gloves, especially if in direct contact with untreated sewage. Take care not to step on nails or other protruding items. Wash hands thoroughly with soap and clean water afterward.
  • If you come in contact with chemical or corrosive substances, seek immediate medical guidance.
  • To prevent the growth of black mold, clean and disinfect your home thoroughly after the waters recede. Remove and throw away any insulating material that has been saturated with flood waters.
  • Clean minor wounds thoroughly with soap and water, cover and keep them dry while working on cleanup.
While it is always a good idea to make sure immunizations are up to date, there are no special recommendations for tetanus immunizations during flood situations. Adults need a tetanus booster shot every 10 years.
More information on flood cleanup is available at http://disasterrecovery.sd.gov.
Effectively managing public health emergencies is a key objective of the department’s Health 2020 initiative.