The City of St. Louis Department of Health joins the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) in reminding citizens that the dangers of flooding don’t end when the rains stops. Flood waters and standing water present several public health threats including infectious diseases, chemical hazards, and injuries. Most cases of illness associated with flood conditions are a result of ingesting contaminated food or water.
Anyone working to cleanup flooded areas should take precautions to protect themselves.
Hazards from flooding increase the risks of wounds, so workers should make sure they are up-to-date with tetanus vaccination, ideally before starting cleanup activities.
OSHA also recommends outdoor flood cleanup workers:
- Make sure your tetanus shot is current (given within the last 10 years) before you begin working.
- Have wounds that are associated with a flood evaluated for risks. A physician may recommend a tetanus immunization.
- Decrease the risk of mosquito and other insect bites by wearing long-sleeved shirts, long pants, and by using insect repellants.
- Wash your hands with soap and water that has been boiled or disinfected before preparing or eating foods after participating in cleanup activities.
- Not allow children to play in flood waters or with toys that have been in contact with flood waters.
For additional tips visit https://www.osha.gov/OshDoc/floodCleanup.html
Office of the Mayor
Division of Health