3 Considerations to Protect Your Health After Flooding

A period of flooding can add a number of different contaminants to your water supply. Most advice that deals with this topic tend to focus on preparing for a flood and what to do during a flood. This is generally good sensible advice, but there isn’t much information on what you need to do after the flood to avoid becoming ill. In this article, we will look at three things to consider, to protect your health after the flood waters have subsided. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

1. It’s Not Just the Drinking Water: 

This first point is crucial; some people are aware that their drinking water may be compromised, but they don’t consider their other water requirements. A prime example here would be something as basic as staying clean. Contaminated water should never be used for personal washing, brushing teeth and cleaning dishes. These activities will expose you to contamination and could cause you to become ill.  

Bottled water should be prioritized for drinking and may be in short supply, but there are alternatives. You may have distilled water in the garage that can be used for washing and alcohol based sanitization products are available for cleaning hands. Another good cleaner you can make at home is a 50/50 mix of food grade Hydrogen Peroxide and water in spray bottle, just be careful to avoid spraying around the eyes. 

2. Killing Harmful Organisms: 

One of the major issues after a flood is the overloading of the local water treatment plant. The increased level of turbidity in the water can make it harder to treat effectively, and harmful organisms can be present in your drinking water. Any water that will be ingested should be subjected to a rolling boil for at least one minute to kill any bacteria that may be present.  

If boiling the water isn’t possible, treat it with iodine tablets, chlorine tablets or a chlorine based bleach. The tablets will have instructions on how to use them printed right on the bottle. When using bleach add a ⅛ teaspoon to each gallon of clear water and if the water is turbid add a ¼ teaspoon to each gallon. In both cases mix the bleach in thoroughly and leave it to stand for at least thirty minutes before using it. 

3. What Organisms Could be Present? 

The transmission of disease will typically occur by ingesting water contaminated with harmful organisms. These could be parasites, such as Cryptosporidium and Giardia or bacteria, such as E. coli and Shigella. The gastrointestinal system will be the most affected, with symptoms, such as stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting (without fever) and diarrhea. In isolation, these symptoms are not life threatening unless the affected person is immunocompromised, young or elderly. That being said, they can be more severe in a situation where clean water is not available, dehydration and its associated symptoms could become a real problem. Only bottled water can be trusted in an emergency, and it’s a good idea to have plenty on hand. 

If you want to learn more about effective water filtration systems to improve your water quality, speak to a local water treatment professional. The marketplace is filled with a wide selection of filtration systems that can deal with a variety of water quality problems. Make sure that you choose a professional who is fully WQA certified and you can be sure that your water quality will meet and even exceed water industry standards.

With more than 25 years experience in the residential and commercial water treatment space, Terry is a WQA (Water Quality Association) certified water specialist, LEVEL 3, as well as a WQA certified sales representative.  Terry currently sits on EcoWater Systems (a Berkshire Hathaway Company) national Peers committee, as a water treatment expert advising other water professionals with less experience on best trade and technology practices. EcoWater Systems of Nebraska is one of the biggest water treatment and water delivery businesses in the state.  



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