Recovery Health Precautions

Posted on Posted in Cleaning, Flood Education, Post-Flood Advice

cheriShared by Cheri H. LeBlanc, MD

As I see so many people having health problems cleaning up from the flood, I wanted to remind everyone of precautions we should take:

Staying Healthy as We Recover from the Flood

1. Wear rubber boots, rubber gloves, goggles, and masks during cleanup.
2. Open all windows and doors to get as much air flow as possible while cleaning inside.
3. Thoroughly clean all hard surfaces with hot water and laundry or dish detergent.
4. Wash hands frequently with soap and warm water, not with hand sanitizer. (If unsure that water is safe, boil for 1 minute and allow to cool before using. If unable to boil, use 1/8 – ¼ teaspoon of bleach per 1 gallon of water.)
5. Wash all clothes worn during cleanup in hot water and detergent. These clothes should be washed separately from uncontaminated clothes and linens.
6. Be sure that you have received a tetanus booster vaccine within the last 10 years.
7. Use sunscreen to protect from sunburn.

Diarrheal Disease – very common and very serious after a flood.

1. Frequent hand washing as described above, especially before eating.
2. Do not let children play in flood waters or with toys that have been contaminated by flood waters and not yet disinfected.
3. Wash children’s hands frequently.

Wounds – open wounds and rashes exposed to flood waters can become infected.

1. Avoid flood waters if you have an open wound is best. If you are unable to avoid the flood waters, cover with a waterproof bandage. As soon as possible, remove bandage and clean with soap and water.
2. If wound develops redness, swelling, or drainage, seek immediate medical attention.
3. Flood waters may contain sharp objects, such as glass or metal fragments, that can cause injury. If this should occur, clean immediately with soap and clean water. Monitor carefully for redness, swelling or drainage, and if occurs seek medical attention.

Ears :

1. If you get flood waters in your ears, irrigate with ½ hydrogen peroxide and ½ clean water (only use bottled or boiled water – do not use water treated with bleach for ear irrigation).
2. Be sure water is room temperature to avoid dizziness that can result from too warm or too cold water.

Heat exposure:

1. Be sure that you are drinking enough water. Easiest way to determine if you are hydrated is to drink enough to keep your urine a light yellow color.
2. Take frequent breaks outside in fresh air.
3. Look out for each other. Remember this is a marathon, not a sprint.

Continuing to pray for all those who were affected, and all those joining us in the recovery efforts. Stay safe.

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