Health Advice: Avoid contaminated floodwater

Health Advice: Avoid contaminated floodwater
The North Coast Public Health Unit is urging Northern Rivers residents and visitors to avoid unnecessary contact with floodwater.

Greg Bell, Acting Director Public Health, said it is important that people treat all floodwater as potentially contaminated. Mr Bell advised people that they should not swim or play in floodwater because of the dangers of contacting diluted sewage, bacteria, chemicals and physical hazards that may be present. “While the risk of infection from contact with floodwater is generally low, it is important to stay away from flood-affected areas and avoid unnecessary contact with mud and floodwaters.” If you cut yourself on something that has been contaminated with floodwater, check with your GP about your tetanus vaccination.

To view the full media release, click here.  To view the Staying Health After Floods Advice – click here.

Hints for staying healthy during floods and while cleaning up:

  • Wear gloves and suitable foot wear when removing mud or debris from homes or yards.
  • Yards can be raked to remove debris and if necessary, hosed down.
  • Don’t try to check electrical appliances and other equipment yourself, seek professional help.
  • Discard any tinned food that has no labels, as well as perishable food that has been out of refrigeration for more than 4 hours. If freezer door is kept shut, frozen food will not spoil for at least 24 hours.
  • Have septic tanks or pipes professionally inspected or serviced if you suspect damage.
  • Avoid being bitten by mosquitoes, use roll-on insect repellent on exposed skin and apply every few hours.
  • Avoid creating mosquito breeding sites in your yard by emptying out pot plant bases and removing all water-holding rubbish.
  • When cleaning up, consider your personal health, drink plenty of clear fluids, do not wait until you are thirsty. Take breaks when you can, watch out for heat stress.

For more information please visit the following links on the NSW Health website:

Photo credit: Louisa Dunning

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