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HEALTHWATCH: Medical issues to watch out after the flood

Updated: Thursday, May 8 2014, 09:17 AM CDT
Damaged homes and standing water are causing more than just stress and frustration in Northwest Florida.  They are actually causing an increase in trips to the Emergency Room for some people.
Channel Three's Jim Carmack says, "As the slow clean up process continues from the flooding we saw, health professionals are now concerned because of the dangers lurking beneath the water."

Standing water...  It's just plain frustrating.  And potentially dangerous.

Dr. Stephanie Duggan, Sacred Heart Hospital's Chief Medical Officer says, "You need to wear the boots because you don't know what's in there.  You could have a snake.  You could have a dirty piece of rusty material that's been washed in from somewhere else, so you don't know what you're getting into.  You absolutely need to take every precaution that you can."

Dr. Duggan says they typically see two types of injuries after a disaster like this.  "The first really are the exposure type injuries.  Those are the injuries that occur from the standing water where the mold gets released, the spores get released, people are inadvertently contaminated, they drink water that has been contaminated that they haven't boiled.  Then the actual physical injuries is kind of the other side of the scale.  These are the injuries people have where they injure their backs, they injure their necks, they get cut with the nails as they're trying to walk into a building where the structure isn't stable and they slip on that." 

Cuts or scratches can also expose you to tetanus.  If you have an injury that's bleeding, get a tetanus shot if you are not up to date.  In addition, protect yourself by using approved mosquito repellant, sunscreen, and drinking plenty of clean water to avoid dehydration.  Children and adults also need to stay away from areas and roads that received damage because the ground could still give way.

"What you think might be safe could easily continue to erode and continue to fall," says Duggan.  "And the open sewage is never... There's nothing good I could say about that so please keep your children away from that, and you adults that want to get out there, too, please stay away from that as well."

Clean ups from situations like this require precaution and patience.  And a lot of times that's easier said than done.  More health informationHEALTHWATCH: Medical issues to watch out after the flood


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