Potential Floodwaters Poise Health Concern

INDIANAPOLIS (WOWO): With conditions ripe for potential flooding, state health officials are reminding Hoosiers about some tips to minimize the impact.

While the level of water is a huge risk, what's in the water and the temperature of the water is a big threat as well. If you get caught in flood waters, it can cause hypothermia or it could contain harmful toxins and bacteria. The best thing is to stay high and dry. When snow or rain run-off builds up, that strains sewers and waste treatment facilities causing backups. If you have any type of wound, exposed skin or even just a tiny cut, you are at risk.

From an Indiana State Department of Health press release

Joan Duwve, M.D., Chief Medical Officer at the Indiana State Department of Health said, “If we do experience flooding, the water will be frigid. ding or being or being immersed in floodwater can cause dangerously low body temperatures.”

Some other safety tips for flood are:

• Don’t drive through flooded roads, as cars can be swept away or lose power.

• Never touch a downed power line or anything in contact with one.

• Listen to announcements in local media (radio, television or newspaper) to find out if it's safe to use tap water, and follow instructions regarding water.

• If you are not sure if water is safe to use, boil water before you use it for anything, including brushing teeth, cooking, drinking or bathing.

• Throw away any food that may have been touched by floodwater.

• Use battery-powered lanterns and flashlights, instead of candles, to prevent fires.

• Stoves, generators, lanterns and gas ranges release dangerous carbon monoxide gas and should always be used outdoors, far from windows, doors and vents.

Individuals who experience a puncture wound from flood debris or a wound contaminated with feces, soil or saliva, should visit their health care provider or local health department to determine whether they need a tetanus booster.