flood health problems

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You may even find a few orphaned squirrels or deer running where you
wouldn't ordinarily find them or catch a fish in your driveway, like the boys
above, but don't eat them. Didn't we mention the gastrointestinal issues
above in #3?

#9: Trench foot.
Another hidden problem in flood water is trenchfoot, which is a
fungal disease that happens when a someone crosses floodwaters
with dry ground in between and socks never get the chance to dry
between. It's also called immersion foot where feet become white
and wrinkled, then chafing ensues making walking painful,
because feet have been immersed in water too long. Feet can
eventually become blackened with gangrene and blood poisoning!

  • How to avoid trenchfoot: Keep feet clean and dry. Wear hip
    boots if you have them to wade in the waters!

#10 Drinking water contamination.
Flooding may eventually stop the water treatment plants from
being able to provide fresh drinking water through the faucet.
When this is the case you will likely get "boil orders."


  • Contaminated bottled waters. Water is always a priority in
    just about any emergency, and getting fresh water is
    particularly difficult after a severe flood. Unfortunately the
    floodwaters of Texas were filled with sewage, chemical ills,
    bacteria and a host of other health hazards, so if you've
    stored bottled water that's been submerged into the
    floodwaters, then you shouldn't drink it.


  • Well waters. With flooding, your well waters can become
    infected with the swell of sewage, gasoline, chemicals and
    other contaminants and bacteria that seep into your well.
    Use bottled water or if necessary boil your water if your well
    water has flooded. If you have a well, download this flyer
    from the EPA about what to do after the flood.

Happy endings...
Prevention is always the best remedy. Play it smart and don't
take any unnecessary risks. Get out of the community shelters as
soon as feasible. You're a prepper, afterall and bugging out is
what we do.

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Floods and health hazards
Top ten health hazards from floods

There are many health issues that follow floods...
Hurricane Harvey and the flooding that followed brought with it a
host of hidden health problems that many Texans are just now
discovering. Below are some of the lessons learned and the top
ten health risks that can unfold after floods.

Top Ten Flood Health Problems
Obviously the electrical hazards of downed power lines are a
health hazard, but there is so much more in terms of hidden  
health problems. The flood waters not only carry bacteria from
raw sewage, but also chemicals and a cocktail of arsenic, mercury
and other heavy metals. Floodwaters often smell ghastly and raw
sewage carries deadly toxins and other dangers.

From debris and sewage to mosquitoes, E-coli, mold and more,
here are some of the health problems you can expect and what
you can do about them. Below are the ten health risks to watch
for after the floods subside.

#1: Bacterial infections (wounds).
There will be lots of hazardous sharp metals in the waters as well
as glass, which could cause cuts and lacerations. The murky
waters simultaneously may allow the open wounds to get
bacterial infections. Flood waters can increase risk of skin rashes.
People who have been submerged in the water too long without
an opportunity to get clean may experience boils and rashes.

  • Tetanus (bacterial infection). With flooding comes
    dangerous debris, particularly rusty metals which not only
    bring about cuts and lacerations, but the carry the possibility
    of Tetanus, a rare disease caused by bacteria (Clostridium
    tetani). Tetanus can cause painful muscle spasms and can
    lead to death.  To prevent Tetanus:

  • Get a Tetanus shot. It is standard practice of the
    military service to provide tetanus shot or update before
    deployment for emergency response.

  • Wear sturdy shoes. Too many victims of Hurricane
    Harvey were without shoes as they escaped. Always
    next to your bugout bag, you need to have a pair of
    sturdy shoes. You may be thinking Teva or othe water
    shoe and certainly it's a good idea, but your foot will
    have good protection with a boot. Check out our article
    on bugout clothes. A pair of hiking boots will get soaked
    so to avoid trench foot (see #9) make sure to carry a
    spare pair of shoes and socks or take the time to dry
    out.

  • Staph infections (bacterial infection). Staph is short for
    Staphylococcus aureaus, which is a type of bacteria that
    causes skin infections, food poisoning, and even blood
    poisoning. People who have diabetes are aware that staph
    infections are common for those who use needles. A staph
    infection can invade the bloodstream an lead to pneumonia,
    encephalitis, liver abscesses and even toxic shock syndrome.
    Unfortunately, some staph infections don't respond to
    antibiotics. To prevent staph infections:
  • Wash hands frequently
  • Wear gloves while cleaning up
  • Avoid shaking other people's hands during hospital
    visits (you can do the fist bump).  

#2: Conjunctivitis (Pink Eye).
Conjunctivitis is one of the hidden health dangers of flooding that
is rarely talked about, but person-to-person infections, including
conjunctivitis will emerge after the flooding. Conjunctivitis,
usually  caused by adenovirus, is an inflammation of the eyelid
lining that comes about from viruses, bacteria, parasites or other
allergens or irritants.

The people of Texas will face more Pink Eye from sleeping on
community cots and sharing blankets and pillows. What to do if
you have conjunctivitis:
  • Remove contacts, if you wear them
  • Apply a cold compress if you can, but only on the
    affected eye to prevent spread to the other eye.

#3: Gastrointenstinal infections.
Contaminated water is the culprit of many gastrointestinal
diseases in both food and water. The risk of floodwaters are from
bacteria, viruses and fungi. Make sure you can recognize
symptoms and have
medicines to treat diarrhea on hand.

  • Cholera. In developing countries, floodwaters can cause
    cholera, typhoid or yellow fever. While these diseases aren't
    cause for concern in the United States, they could come as a
    result of aid workers. Such was the case in Haiti where a
    problem. Cholera is a highly contagious bacterial disease
    that's a probable cause of concern in the Texas floodwaters
    because it can spread from infected feces.

  • E. Coli. Gastrointestinal problems are a top concern after the
    flooding. The floodwaters of Texas tested positive for E. Coli,
    which create added health risks for both food-borne and
    waterborne illness.

  • Hepatits A. Hepatitis A is a rare but highly contagious liver
    disease. It's a virus that attacks the liver. Hepatitis A
    spreads to an uninfected person when he or she ingests food
    or water that's contaminated with the feces of an infected
    person. Consider a Heptatits A shot. Flooding inevitably
    increases potential exposure to contaminated waters. A
    concern preppers should have after flooding is that well
    water may be more vulnerable to Hepatitis A contamination,
    especially after flooding.

  • Shigella. Another of the gastrointestinal illnesses, Shigella
    brings abdominal pain, diarrhea, vomiting, fever, and
    dehydration.

  • Norovirus. With so many other flood victims congregated
    into small spaces, Hepatitis A is a worry but also Norovirus.

#4: Respiratory infections.
Exposure to the floodwaters may increase ear, nose and throat
problems, which is of particular concern for asthma sufferers. And
it's not just the floodwaters that may cause respiratory
infections. In Texas there were chemical fires the resulted from
floodwaters. What's more, respiratory infections are common as a
result of staying in crowded emergency shelters. Large numbers
of people clustered into small space mean more spread of disease.

  • Wear a respirator. Stench of raw sewage is overwhelming,
    face mask can help. An anti-viral facemask (a type of
    respirator) can also help you avoid respiratory infections.

#5: Carbon monoxide poisoning.
A little known problem after the floods is carbon monoxide
poisoning. Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless poisonous
gas that can cause death. Symptoms may include dizziness,
general weakness, nausea and vomiting ~ and even what appears
at the surface to be a mental illness.

It's a danger following floods when entire towns lose the power
and people look to gas generators for their cooking needs.

#6: Mosquitoes. West Nile Virus and Zika virus etc..
With more water mosquitoes thrive. It's a breeding ground for the
pesky vector and along with mosquito-borne disease, including
West Nile Virus and Zika Virus, and even Dengue fever or even
Chikungunya.

What to about the mosquito problem:
For most people the solution to the mosquito problem is to use
Premethrin (insecticide in the pyrethroid family stemming from
the chrystanthmum) or Deet (the most common active ingredient
in insect repellents).


#7: Mold.
There are many dangers lurking in the flood waters, but looking
ahead, mold is something to ponder. Mold brings with it problems
not only for asthma sufferers, but for anyone breathing in the
spores.

Water damage can lead to the problem of toxic mold, which is
why it's important to learn how to test for mold and how to get
rid of it. Put your mind at ease and the
Mold Test Kit, pictured
right. Mold and the toxins they produce can be dangerous and
they can also be hidden.

What to do about the mold problem:

#8: Wildlife dangers.
We mentioned fire-ants above, and as if all of the above weren't
enough, Hurricane Harvey threw at Texans another unfortunate
hazard of wildlife from Alligators to venomous snakes. Even a few
pets out of place and feeling threatened can act like wildlife.

Most wildlife is seeking higher ground. Here are some examples
of what some unsuspecting Texans found lurking nearby:

  • Alligators. Imagine seeing an alligator in your driveway!
    That's just what some saw in southeastern Texas. An
    alligator in floodwaters can look like debris. Keep away ~ 30
    feet or more for your personal safety and know it is trying to
    get to higher ground. A woman in the Houston area found
    two alligators in her backyard.

  • Fire ants. After the flooding, people were finding floating ant
    colonies in Texas ~ these ant-rafts are colonies of fire ants,
    clinging together in effort to save the queen! Their waxy
    bodies can amass to as many as 100,000 and float in search
    of a new. Here's what to do about the problem of fire ants:

  • Prepare for stings. It's not only uncomfortable to get a
    sting, but some people with allergies may go into
    anaphylactic shock from the stings. The best thing to do
    is to flick off a fire ant and move away. Hopefully you've
    packed your EPI-pen if you are allergic in the bugout
    bag or some Benydryl.

  • See a floating fire-ant colony? A creative way to get
    rid of them is to pour a massive amount of liquid
    detergent on them. The weight will force the colony
    down and they will drown.

  • Venomous snakes. Houston has as many as two dozen
    kinds of snakes that can swim! As the slither to find higher
    ground, you may encounter them. Thankfully only five are the
    venomous kind. Don't try to catch them as tempting as it
    might be, and don't harass or try to kill them either. That's
    when bites happen.

  • What to do: Call animal control or wild life rescure and know
    that they likely will be inundated with calls to deal with
    other emergencies.
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