Water Damage >> After Flood Waters Recede

Flood water may be contaminated with sewage or other hazards, so everyone in a flooded area should take precautions to avoid exposure, especially during cleanup. You can be exposed to sewage through hand-to-mouth contact such as eating or drinking, or through cuts, scratches or
wounds, or After Flood Waters Recede by wiping your face or eyes with contaminated hands or gloves.

If there has been a backflow of sewage into your home or on your property, it is best to have a professional handle the cleanup. Raw sewage can contain bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites that can cause serious illness. For any cleanup of flood water that may contain sewage, After Flood Waters Recede take the following precautions to prevent illness. 

For most purposes, use a disinfectant solution of no more than ½ cup bleach to 1 gallon of water. Keep children and pets out of the area until cleanup has been completed. Do not allow children to play in floodwaters or with items that may have been contaminated. Wear rubber boots, After Flood Waters Recede waterproof gloves and goggles during cleanup. 

If you have open cuts or sores that could be exposed to floodwater, keep them as clean as possible by washing with soap After Flood Waters Recede and applying an antibiotic ointment to discourage infection. During cleanup properly vent the space when using cleaning products. Do not mix ammonia cleansers with bleach - toxic vapors will form. 

Remove and discard contaminated household materials 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 After Flood Waters Recede and most paper products). 

Remove and discard drywall and insulation that has been contaminated with sewage or flood waters. Thoroughly clean and disinfect all hard surfaces (such as flooring, concrete, molding, wood and metal furniture, countertops, appliances, sinks After Flood Waters Recede and other plumbing fixtures) with a bleach solution of no more than ½ cup of bleach per gallon of water. 

Once cleanup is complete, dry out the affected items to prevent mold from growing. Help the drying process by using fans, air conditioning units and dehumidifiers. After completing the cleanup, After Flood Waters Recede 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). 

OR use water that has been disinfected for personal hygiene (Make a solution of 1/8 tsp. household bleach per 1 gallon of water. Let it stand for 30 minutes. If the water is cloudy use a solution of 1/4 tsp bleach per 1 gallon water.) If your home septic system may have been impacted, After Flood Waters Recede have it inspected by a professional. 

Seek immediate medical attention if you become injured or ill.The Vermont Department of Health is issuing drinking water After Flood Waters Recede and food safety recommendations regarding potential flooding that may result from heavy rains this coming weekend.

"We are advising people with drinking water wells in areas prone to flooding to assume that their water may become contaminated,” said Larry Crist, director of health protection After Flood Waters Recede for the Vermont Department of Health.People should take precautions to protect their health if any of the following conditions occur: 

If the well was actually flooded if the well is in close proximity to flooded areas if there has been a change in water quality (odor or taste)Residents who observe any of the above After Flood Waters Recede
 conditions should contact their local district office of the Vermont Department of Health for disinfection instructions. 

District office location information can be found on the health department’s website atwww.healthyvermonters.info/cph/local/local.shtml."If you think your well water has become contaminated, boil it for one minute to make it safe for drinking, cooking, making juice After Flood Waters Recede or ice, washing fruits and vegetables or brushing teeth — or use bottled water,” Crist said. 

"This should be done until the water is disinfected and a water test confirms that the water is safe.”Other areas of potential concern: After Flood Waters Recede Food – Do not eat any food that may come into contact with floodwater unless you can clean and cook it thoroughly, health officials said. If in doubt, throw it out.

Gardens – If garden produce comes into contact with floodwaters, discard any fruit or vegetables that cannot be washed After Flood Waters Recede AND cooked prior to consumption. This includes produce like lettuce, spinach, strawberries, and peas or beans to be eaten raw. Root crops like carrots should be safe to eat if thoroughly washed.

Cleanup – If there has been a back flow of sewage into the house, wear rubber boots After Flood Waters Recede and waterproof gloves during cleanup. Disinfect food contact surfaces with 1/2 cup of bleach in one gallon of water.Recreation – Sewage may enter streams and rivers in flooded areas, making them unsafe for swimming.

The Vermont Department of Health has not seen an increase in gastrointestinal After Flood Waters Recede or respiratory illnesses since Tropical Storm Irene hit Vermont on Aug. 28.

Sediment, mud and dust is usually not any more contaminated than the soil that was there before a storm - unless it's near a source of contamination that was disrupted by flooding such as agricultural fertilizers, After Flood Waters Recede industrial chemicals or raw sewage. The Health Department advises Vermonters to stay away from contaminated areas that require professional cleanup.

"We do anticipate there will be sporadic After Flood Waters Recede or individual cases of respiratory and gastrointestinal illness, but we rarely see outbreaks of these types of illnesses in the wake of flooding in the United States," said Health Commissioner Harry Chen, MD.

Typically in the United States, Dr. Chen said, about half of the hazards after a flood are related to injuries rather than illness, After Flood Waters Recede such as injuries from power tools, slips and falls, electrocution and carbon monoxide exposure.

Vermonters are advised to practice good hygiene during cleanup such as washing hands frequently, and make sure items such as canned foods picked up during cleanup are washed thoroughly with soap After Flood Waters Recede and water.

Wear an N-95 respirator (also called an N-95 mask) during all clean-up activities when inhalable particles are generated, such as mold, After Flood Waters Recede sand, silt, dry dirt or mud, dust or any other particles not otherwise specified. If inhaled, particles alone can cause upper airway and lung irritation and can make asthma and other lung diseases worsen.

Most hardware stores sell N-95 respirators. They are also available After Flood Waters Recede at no cost from Health Department district offices as part of the flood response .

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