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September 19, 2019

Houston Health Department Urges People to Stay Out of Floodwater to Avoid Health Hazards

Floodwater and standing waters can be dangerous and make people vulnerable to infectious diseases, chemical hazards and injuries. The Houston Health Department urges everyone to protect themselves by staying out of floodwater.

“A flooded street may look like a playground to a child but there are very often dangers in the water that can lead to serious injury and infection,” said Dr. David Persse, local health authority for the Houston Health Department. “Parents who may think it’s okay to let their child go splash around in the floodwater are actually putting their child at serious risk.”

People who come into contact with floodwater should:

  • Wash the area with soap and clean water as soon as possible. If you don’t have soap or water, use alcohol-based wipes or sanitizer.
  • Take care of wounds and seek medical attention if necessary.
  • Wash clothes contaminated with floodwater in hot water and detergent before reusing them.

Floodwater may also contain sharp objects, such as glass or metal fragments, that can cause injury and lead to infection. Prompt first aid can help heal small wounds and prevent infection. Any wound that comes into contact with floodwater should be closely monitored for redness or swelling. If either occur, contact your medical provider.

If you receive a puncture wound that comes into contact with floodwater, you should contact your medical provider to determine if a tetanus booster is necessary based on individual record.