Florida Department of Health in Washington County warns of health risks related to floods

Florida Department of Health in Washington County
Florida Department of Health
Published: Friday, May 2, 2014 at 01:48 PM.

WASHINGTON COUNTY – Washington County has experienced heavy rainfall, causing significant flooding in the area.  Although skin contact with flood waters does not, by itself, pose a serious health risk, health hazards are a concern when waters become contaminated.  Flood waters may contain waste material with associated bacteria and viruses. The Florida Department of Health in Walton County advises residents impacted by flooding to take the following precautions.

Moving Flood Water - During flooding, the greatest threat comes from moving water. The deeper the moving water, the greater the threat. People should avoid driving in moving water, regardless of the size of the vehicle.

Pooling Flood Water - Heavy rain causes flood waters to rise and pool on streets and throughout neighborhoods. In these situations, be aware of the following:

  • Road surfaces become disguised and drivers can unknowingly steer into a deep body of water, such as a canal or pond.
  • Electricity from streetlights and power poles may be present in standing water, causing a deadly shock to anyone coming in contact with it.
  • Children playing in contaminated standing water can become sick or be bitten by snakes or floating insects.
  • People coming into contact with floodwaters should thoroughly wash and rinse any exposed body parts with soap and disinfected water.

Contaminated Water Supply - Drinking contaminated water may cause illness. Water in a flood-affected area may not be safe to drink. Listen to local announcements on safety of the water supply.  If the public water system lost pressure, a boil water notice will likely be issued for your area.  People in these areas should take precautions to avoid consuming contaminated water. If your well is in a flooded area, your water may contain disease-causing bacteria and may not be safe to drink.  DOH recommends one of the following:

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

After the flooding subsides:

1 2 3

Reader comments posted to this article may be published in our print edition. All rights reserved. This copyrighted material may not be re-published without permission. Links are encouraged.

▲ Return to Top