The Health Risk Associated with Flood Waters
When it comes to flooding inside a home or business, the dangers are many. From bacterial infections, to mold growth, to electrocution, there are no shortage of ways to become ill or injured. One of the most important reminders one can give themselves when dealing with flooding is that flood water will carry with it everything it has previously come into contact with. This means chemicals, raw sewage, debris, and trash are just the tip of the spear. Unknown pathogens like E. Coli, Cryptosporidium, and Cholera are a few that come to mind. With all of the danger associated with flooding it is important to stay informed and understand how to avoid the hazards of a flooded home. Below you will find some tips to avoid them:
One of the most common ways to come into contact with and contract infectious disease during a flood is through ingesting contaminated food and drinking water. E. Coli and Salmonella are highly contagious and easily transferable through infected water.
Tip to avoid:
Throw away all foods that have come into direct contact with flood water whether it be from a natural disaster or burst pipe in your home. Bottled drinks, cans, and sealed jars are best discarded along with any food that looks or smells “off”. If canned good must be saved they should be washed and disinfected to prevent contaminants on the outside of the can from coming into contact with foods as they are prepared.
All perishable foods should be discarded without question. This means all produce and vegetables, meat and eggs, etc. should go.
As a general rule of thumb make up, medicine, and any other products that are applied to the body or ingested should also be tossed out. Continue to maintain good hygiene and frequently wash your hands with clean water whenever possible.
Do not allow children to play in flood water and protect any open wounds from coming into contact tainted water as well! This means waterproof bandages, and frequent antiseptics are a good idea for open wounds.
Another highly common issue seen amongst survivors of heavy flooding is respiratory issues. Mold growth tends to be the main culprit here as wet floors, walls, and baseboards are not always dried properly. When water persists, mold exists. While it is imporant to note that not all mold is hazardous to humans, mold growth after serious flooding almost always is.
Tips to avoid:
If you see mold growth in any area of your home or business either before or after a flood call a licensed mold remediation specialist to inspect. There is no hope in waiting around hoping it will go away. Mold is extremely persistent, grows and multiplies extremely fast, and needs very little to survive. Contrary to popular belief bleach or other over the counter chemicals will not get rid of a mold infestation!
Avoid areas that are infected with visible mold growth.
Pay attention to signs of mold growth that may be hidden. Allergy symptoms like sneezing, coughing, wheezing, itchy or water eyes, and trouble breathing are all serious indicators that your home may be infested with mold.
Call a licensed professional to perform a thorough mold removal service immediately!
Utilities: Electricity & Gas
We all know that oil and water don’t mix. Imagine what happens when you bring electricity and gas into the conversation! If your home or business has flooded make sure to proceed with caution!
Tips to avoid:
Never touch any electrical wires, lines, fixtures etc. They may be live and the result could be execution leading to serious injury or even death.
Cut off the main power switch if you have safe access or call on a qualified electrician to do this for you. Once they have declared the power is dead and deemed your home or business safe, you may re-enter the area.
If you smell or detect gas, notify the gas company immediately and exit the building. A gas leak could lead to a potentially fatal build up causing toxic inhalation.