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The Florida Department of Health works to protect, promote & improve the health of all people in Florida through integrated state, county, & community efforts.

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Tips to keep families safe

By Deanna Krautner

June 06, 2016

In anticipation of heavy rain and possible flooding over the next 48 hours, the Florida Department of Health in Pasco County encourages residents to exercise caution to prevent illness and injury. 

PREVENTING WATERBORNE ILLNESS

Basic hygiene is very important during this emergency period. Always wash your hands with soap and water that has been boiled or disinfected before eating, after toilet use, after participating in cleanup activities, and after handling articles contaminate the floodwater or sewage.

  • If you have open cuts or sores exposed to the floodwater, keep them as clean as possible by washing them with soap and clean water.  Apply antibiotic ointment to reduce the risk of infection.  If a wound or sore develops redness, swelling or drainage, see a physician.
  • Do not allow children to play in floodwater.  They can be exposed to water contaminated with fecal matter.  Do not allow children to play with toys that been in floodwater until the toys have been disinfected.  Use ¼ cup of bleach in one gallon of water.

 

ALERT TO PRIVATE WELL OWNERS IN FLOODED AREAS

The Florida Department of Health (DOH) advises private well owners affected by flood waters to take precautions against disease-causing organisms that may make water unsafe to drink.

DOH recommends one of the following:

  • Boil water before use, holding it at rolling boil for at least one minute before using it for drinking, brushing teeth, washing food, cooking, or washing dishes.
  • Disinfect water by adding 8 drops (about 1/8 tsp – this would form a puddle about the size of a dime) of plain, unscented household bleach (4 to 6 percent active ingredient) per gallon of water, and then let it stand for 30 minutes. If the water is cloudy after 30 minutes, repeat the procedure once. Use a container that has a cap or cover for disinfecting and storing water to be used for drinking. This will prevent contamination.
  • Use bottled water, especially for mixing baby formula.

 

CARBON MONOXIDE DANGERS

Carbon monoxide is a highly poisonous, invisible, odorless, tasteless gas and is highly poisonous.  Depending on the level of exposure, CO may cause fatigue, weakness, chest pains for those with heart disease, shortness of breath upon exertion, nausea, vomiting, headaches, confusion, lack of coordination, impaired vision, loss of consciousness, and in severe cases, death.

  • Do not burn charcoal or gas grills inside a house or garage.
  • NEVER use a generator indoors.  Opening doors and windows or using fans will not prevent CO build-up in the home.