If your home has been flooded after a recent hurricane or rain, make sure you take precautions to avoid making yourself sick.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests how to clean up after your home has been flooded:
- Don’t reenter your home unless authorities have told you the structure is safe.
- Make sure there’s no leak of carbon monoxide — a deadly odorless, colorless gas — from the furnace.
- Discard anything that can’t be washed and/or disinfected.
- Once you’ve finished the cleanup, thoroughly wash with soap and water.
- If your community has a boil-water advisory in effect, make sure to only use boiled or bottled water to clean and wash.
- If you notice any open sores, cuts or wounds, carefully wash them with soap and safe water, and apply an antibiotic ointment.
- If you feel sick or are injured, get medical help immediately.
- Promptly launder any clothing that you wore during cleanup in hot water with detergent, in a separate laundry load from uncontaminated clothing.
SOURCES: Ditte Molgaard-Nielsen, M.Sc., epidemiologist, Statens Serum Institute, Copenhagen; Scott Berns, M.D., M.P.H., senior vice president and deputy medical officer, March of Dimes; Kecia Gaither, M.D., vice chair, OB/GYN, director, Maternal Fetal Medicine, Brookdale University Hospital and Medical Center, Brooklyn, N.Y.; Aug. 29, 2013, New England Journal of Medicine