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Protect health during flood response





SOUTH DAKOTA DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
June 8, 2011
CONTACT: Lon Kightlinger, (605) 773-3737                    
 
Protect health during flood response  
PIERRE, S.D. – The Department of Health offers the following fact sheet to provide basic information about some typical flood-related health and safety concerns. Find more information about flood response and safety at South Dakota’s disaster recovery site, http://disasterrecovery.sd.gov.
Water Safety
While flood water is not inherently infectious, people should take the same precautions they would with any pond, lake, river or swimming pool and avoid drinking or swallowing the water.
Mosquitoes
Flood waters will increase the population of nuisance mosquitoes such as Aedes vexans but the risk of West Nile virus remains low because such species are not efficient carriers of the virus. Regular use of mosquito repellents (DEET, Picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, IR3535) while outdoors can protect flood responders from these nuisance species and get them in the habit of using protective measures for the peak WNV transmission season in South Dakota, mid-July through mid-September.
Wild Animals
Avoid contact with wild animals (skunks, raccoons, minks, etc.) displaced by flood water to prevent potential exposure to rabies and other animal-borne illnesses.  
Sunburn
Prevent sunburn by wearing a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses and by putting on sunscreen of SPF 15 or higher. If sunburn occurs, apply cold compresses or immerse the sunburned area in cool water and apply moisturizing lotion. Seek medical care if symptoms such as fever, fluid-filled blisters or severe pain are present.
Heat-Related Illness
Prevent heat stroke and heat exhaustion by drinking plenty of cool, non-alcoholic fluids (two to four 16-32 oz. glasses per hour) and taking regular rest breaks in a shady spot or air-conditioned place. Find more detail at http://doh.sd.gov/News/heat-illness-chart.pdf.
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