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

Published: Friday, May 2, 2014 at 01:48 PM.

Contaminated Food

  • Do not eat any food that may have come into contact with flood waters.
  • Discard any food without a waterproof container if there is any chance it has come into contact with floodwaters.
  • Undamaged, commercially canned foods can be saved if you remove the labels thoroughly, wash the cans, and then disinfect them with a solution consisting of 1/4 cup of unscented household bleach per gallon of water for clean surfaces.
  • Re-label your cans, including the expiration date, with a marker. Food containers with screw-caps, snap lids and home canned foods should be discarded if they have come in contact with floodwaters, because they cannot be disinfected.

Sewage Backed Up in the Home

  • If a sewage backup has happened in your home, stay out of affected areas and keep children away. If your entire home has been soaked, abandon the home until all affected areas, including but not limited to carpets, rugs, sheetrock, drywall and baseboards, have been thoroughly cleaned and disinfected. 
  • If sewage has overflowed in open areas or streets, avoid these areas and do not let children play in these areas. 
  • If you are having problems in areas served by public sewer systems, please contact your utility company to make sure they are aware of problems in your area.

Contaminated Items

  • Discard wooden cutting boards, plastic utensils, baby bottle nipples and pacifiers. There is no way to safely clean them if they have come in contact with contaminated floodwaters.
  • Thoroughly wash metal pans, ceramic dishes and utensils with soap and hot water and sanitize by boiling them in clean water or by immersing them for 15 minutes in a solution of 1/4 cup of household bleach per gallon of water.


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