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Taking health precautions during floodwater cleanup

If you need a tetanus vaccine you can call your local physician or the health department to receive one.
Published: Mar. 12, 2021 at 9:44 AM EST
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HAZARD, Ky. (WYMT) -

As people continue to clean up from the damage left behind by recent floodwaters health officials encourage people to take precautions to stay healthy and safe.

Scott Lockard, Kentucky River District Public Health Director, says there are many steps to consider when protecting you and your family including paying attention to mold growth.

“Buildings, where you have drywall that needs to be removed mold after a flooding event, is a huge concern and typically you know you can’t just paint over drywall where you’ve had water you have to cut away drywall and replace with new,” said Lockard.

Lockard says floodwaters can contain a variety of bacteria and viruses so make sure you are up to date on vaccinations is key.

“Tetanus, shigella, E. coli because you have a lot of septic systems that are overflowing and wastewater treatment systems so the flood water can be very very dangerous,” said Lockard. “Lots of times a flood will give us a good reminder that we haven’t had our booster. So if you haven’t had your booster in the last five years and you were actively working in the floodwaters especially if you incurred an injury then it’s good for you to get a tetanus shot.”

When cleaning Lockard says it is not only important to wear the right attire including protective gloves and rubber boots but to also clean with the right products.

“You don’t want to mix bleach with ammonia that is very toxic. Typically when you’re cleaning up at home or business after floodwaters a 1 cup to 5 gallons of water bleach solution is a really good cleaning agent.”

If you need a vaccine you can call your local physician or the health department to receive one.

You can find more safety tips at cdc.gov.

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