Health Effects of Floodwater

Suffering a flood is a big fear for many homeowners. In a matter of hours, your home can be invaded by water, damaging your belongings and plunging your future into uncertainty. While you may worry about the condition of your things, your health can also be at risk. Stagnant water poses health risks associated with flooding, and knowing how to protect yourself can make a huge difference.

Dangers of Floodwater

Floodwater is dangerous because so much about it is unknown. Water in different locations poses different risks to your health. A downed power line in the water, for instance, poses an immediate threat to you and could even kill you if you don’t take the proper precautions. Floodwater can also hide sharp objects that broke during the flood. You could step on glass or metal that’s not visible beneath the water and injure yourself.

In addition to these risks, human or livestock waste can spread through floodwater, as can medical and industrial hazardous waste. It blends in with the raging waters. Stray animals and vermin can also pollute floodwaters.

Floodwater moves fast, too. Try to stay away from the water to avoid drowning or needing a rescue.

Diseases Caused by Floodwater

If you are exposed to contaminated floodwaters, you could develop:

  • Skin rashes
  • Infected wounds.
  • Stomach issues.
  • Tetanus.

Protecting Yourself From Floodwater

The best protection from floodwater is, of course, avoiding it if you can. But that often proves impossible when you become stranded in your home or require rescue. If you do become exposed to floodwater, using common-sense prevention methods may keep you from experiencing any long-term impacts.

Wear rubber boots, gloves and goggles when entering floodwaters. Don’t reuse clothing worn in floodwaters, if possible. If you do keep the clothes, wash them in hot water with a strong detergent before wearing them again.

If you get a cut, wash and sanitize the area using alcohol-based wipes. Cover the wound to protect it from floodwater. Get medical attention immediately for your wounds, as you may require a tetanus shot to ward off further complications. Watch for signs of infection, such as reddening or oozing of the injury.

Floodwater can cause diarrhea if you eat or drink anything that has come in contact with it. Floodwater often includes E. coli or salmonella. Try to protect your family from diarrhea by keeping kids away from floodwaters and preventing them from playing with toys that come in contact with it. Wash your hands frequently — especially before every meal — and make children do the same.

Disinfect anything that touches floodwater before using it. Don’t take a shower or bath in your home unless you know for sure that your water supply has not been contaminated by sewage or other toxic chemicals from the floodwaters.

Emergency Flood Cleanup in Chicago

Have you experienced flooding in your home? Calling in a professional can help you preserve your things while dealing with the potential health effects of flooding. Call us at 773-346-6767 to learn more about our water damage restoration services and book an appointment today.

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