Flood Aftermath Alert: Flood/Health Awareness Alert As Health Risks Increase After the Flooding in Iowa

The presence of bacteria and mold in flooded areas could impact public health for a long time as people attempt to reclaim homes and businesses and come in contact with mold-infected drywall, ceiling tiles, carpeting, insulation and stuffed animals.

“From a public health standpoint, we will be in a much more dangerous place,” said University of Iowa College of Public Health Dean James Merchant.

Aftermath Flood/Health Awareness Alert/Watch for the following:

• Skin Infections: Watch for redness, swelling, warmth or drainage (of pus or fluid) from the skin. Fever may or may not be present.

• Tetanus: If you’re injured by a cut, puncture wound or abrasion while working in floodwaters or handling flood materials, you may need a shot if you have not been vaccinated in the past five years. Puncture wounds can be much more dangerous because the deep nature of the wound without oxygen exposure can harbor more serious organisms.

• Water borne illness: Gastrointestinal infections can result from ingesting contaminated water and can lead to diarrhea, vomiting and cramping abdominal pain. Fever is not common with GI illness.

• Mold: Any damp surface in a flooded area could get mold. It can be found on porous material. Those should be thrown away. Mold is a known trigger of allergies and asthma.

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