6 tips for flood water safety

Posted by Jessica Sheehy, P.A.-C.
September 26, 2016


Recent weather has produced intense rainfalls and flooding in the Midwest. Subsequently, these rainfalls have resulted in many areas and basements playing host to standing flood water. Though most flood water eventually evaporates or is removed, these water accumulations can pose significant health and safety risks.

Standing flood water can be a breeding ground for mosquitos, which carry diseases, such as West Nile Virus and encephalitis. Flood water and standing pools may contain chemicals and sewage as well.

You should avoid standing flood water whenever possible. Follow this advice:

  1. Don’t allow children to play in flood waters
  2. Wash your hands if you’ve come into contact with flood water or objects that have touched flood water
  3. Disinfect items that have touched flood water
  4. Never expose an open wound to flood water — be sure to use a waterproof bandage at all times
  5. Don’t eat foods that may have come into contact with flood water, even if they are packaged
  6. Avoid fast-moving water, as it can sweep away people and vehicles

To learn more about protecting yourself against the dangers of flood water, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website.

Jessica Sheehy is a Mayo Clinic Health System in Mankato infectious diseases physician assistant.

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