Marion County Public Health Department warns residents of Health Risks with Standing Water and Flooding

Created on Wednesday, 05 September 2012 12:25

Contact: Collette Duvalle, 317-373-2391

Indianapolis – Residents in Marion County who might be affected by heavy rains and flooding during the weekend are reminded to take special precautions when dealing with flooding and standing waters. There are various health risks that include infectious diseases, chemical hazards and injuries. The Marion County Public Health Department offers free information on safe-clean up practices by calling 221-2266.

Here are some protective tips for Marion County residents who are affected by standing waters, flooding, or water damage associated with the recent storms from the hurricane.

CLEANING (317-221-2266) Cleaning and sanitizing your household after an emergency is important to help prevent the spread of illness and disease. Wash surfaces with soap and warm, clean water to remove dirt and debris. Sanitize surfaces with household bleach.

MOLD (317-221-2266) After a flood, mold will grow in your house. It can make you sick. Persons cleaning mold should wear gloves, eye protection and a dust mask or respirator to protect against breathing airborne spores. Take things that were wet for 2 or more days outside. Take out items made of cloth, unless you can wash them in hot water.

Also take out items that can’t be cleaned easily (like leather, paper, wood and carpet). Use bleach to clean mold off hard things (floors, stoves, sinks, certain toys, countertops, flatware, plates and tools). If there is extensive mold growth, it may be necessary to hire a professional experienced in mold evaluation and remediation.

SEPTIC SYSTEMS (317-221-2147) During heavy rains and floods, the ground can become saturated, preventing proper operation of the system. A septic tank can collapse or float out of position. During heavy rains or flooding, reduce the amount of water used by limiting toilet flushing, dishwashing, washing clothes and showering. Avoid contact with any standing water that may contain sewage. The health department can provide free well water testing.

CARBON MONOXIDE (317-221-2170) To avoid carbon monoxide poisoning, residents still without electricity should never use combustion devices like gasoline-powered generators, camp stoves and lanterns or charcoal-burning devices inside homes or garages. These devices can rapidly produce large amounts of carbon monoxide resulting in deadly levels of carbon monoxide indoors.

WEST NILE VIRUS/MOSQUITO PREVENTION (317-221-7440) The level of West Nile Virus that we are detecting in the mosquito population continues to grow at an alarming rate. After heavy rains, residents are encourage to wear appropriate personal protection and to survey their property to eliminate things that might hold water and breed mosquitoes.