Take care during flood clean up

Floodwaters may have passed but the danger is not over.

Dangers can be found during clean up and recovery, so it is important to stay safe and follow some simple steps to protect yourself and your family from the risk of contaminants and disease.

Dr Penny Hutchinson, from the West Moreton Public Health Unit, said risks included injury, such as falls and cuts; carbon monoxide poisoning from petrol-powered generators; skin infections; snake and spider bites; sunburn; mosquito-borne infections; and illness from eating or drinking contaminated foods or liquids.

“If your home has been flooded, you must not enter until it has been declared safe following an inspection from a certified electrician,” she said.

“When cleaning up, simple steps, such as wearing protective clothing, including long-sleeved shirts and trousers, waterproof shoes and gloves, can help reduce risks of diseases such as leptospirosis and tetanus and provide sun protection. If you have not had a tetanus booster in the past five years, go and get one,” Dr Hutchinson said. “Avoid walking through flood waters, which can contain contaminants and other hidden dangers, and clear out areas where water has accumulated to prevent mosquitos breeding.”

Dr Hutchinson warned people to be careful of contaminated water or food.

“If you have concerns about your water supply, boil and cool your drinking water before storing in a clean, covered container. Also check your food is safe to eat, particularly if the power has been cut or it has come into contact with floodwaters. Contaminated food or perishable food that has not been refrigerated should be discarded,” she said. “Remember, if in doubt, throw it out.”

Anything that has come into contact with contaminated water should be cleaned and sterilised, particularly kitchen utensils and surfaces.

For further information on disaster management, visit https://www.health.qld.gov.au/public-health/disaster.