When returning to your home after a hurricane or flood, be aware that flood water may contain sewage. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention urges you to protect yourself and your family by following these steps:
Inside the Home
- Keep children and pets out of the affected area until cleanup has been completed.
- Wear rubber boots, rubber gloves, and goggles during cleanup of affected area.- Remove and discard items that cannot be washed and disinfected (such as, mattresses, carpeting, carpet padding, rugs, upholstered furniture, cosmetics, stuffed animals, baby toys, pillows, foam-rubber items, books, wall coverings, and most paper products).
- Remove and discard drywall and insulation that has been contaminated with sewage or flood waters.- After completing the cleanup, wash your hands with soap and warm water. Use water that has been boiled for 1 minute (allow the water to cool before washing your hands).
Outside the Home
- Wear rubber boots, rubber gloves, and goggles during cleanup of affected area.
- Have your onsite waste-water system professionally inspected and serviced if you suspect damage.- Wash all clothes worn during the cleanup in hot water and detergent. These clothes should be washed separately from uncontaminated clothes and linens.
- Seek immediate medical attention if you become injured or ill.
Flood waters and standing waters pose various risks, including infectious diseases, chemical hazards and injuries. Eating or drinking anything contaminated by flood water can cause diarrheal disease. To protect yourself and your family, follow a few of these simple tips:
- Practice good hygiene ( handwashing) after contact with flood waters.Information in this article was obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.
- Do not allow children to play in flood water areas.- Wash children's hands frequently (always before meals).
- Do not allow children to play with toys that have been contaminated by flood water and have not been disinfected.- For information on disinfecting certain nonporous toys, visit CDC Healthy Water's Cleaning and Sanitizing with Bleach section.