Six Infectious Microorganisms Found In Flood Water
If you're like most people, the main thing on your mind in the aftermath of a flood is getting your house back to normal by having water damage repaired by a qualified professional. However, there are also health risks involved—flooding can actually render your municipal drinking water unsafe for a period of time. Following are just six of the water-infectious microorganisms that could be lurking in your city water supply that can harm your health.
You don't have to drink the water to come down with a tetanus infection due to flooding. All that has to happen is for the infected water to come into contact with a small cut or scrape on your skin. Always wear protective clothing and don't allow open wounds to come into contact with either floodwaters or your tap water until the authorities say that your municipal water is safe. Tetanus shots are good for a period of ten years, but even those with current tetanus shots should take precautions when flood water is a part of the picture because it can contain a variety of other pathogens.
Typhoid is another infectious disease you can get from flood waters or municipal water supplies that have become contaminated by flood waters. Although many people consider typhoid to be extinct thanks to advances in modern medicine, it's been making a comeback in recent years. It's also highly contagious, and symptoms may take several weeks to develop.
Hepatitis A is a water- and food-borne virus that's effects range from mild to serious. Fortunately, most people recover fully from this disease with the added benefit of having developed a lifelong immunity to it. Nonetheless, Hepatitis A is fatal to a small portion of those who come down with it. Always wear protective gloves when handling either flood water or contaminated city water—Hepatitis A is usually transmitted when the virus gets on the hands, which are then used in food preparation tasks without taking proper sanitary precautions, but you still might contract it by drinking infected water, using it to wash food, or by cooking with it. Keep in mind that Hepatitis A is easily spread, so you risk not only getting yourself sick, but others as well. If you live in an area that is prone to flooding or otherwise are at risk of getting Hepatitis A, you should consider getting vaccinated against it.
E.coli is spread much like Hepatitis A, but its consequences are usually far more severe—in some cases, such as children, the elderly, or those with weakened immune systems, e.coli can be deadly. Although usually associated with improper handling in fast food restaurants, this intestinal bacteria is one of the best reasons to practice extreme caution after a flood.
Although most people only think of norovirus as being associated with cruise ships, it's also been found to be present in flood waters and city water supplies during the aftermath of a flood. Although it's not usually as serious as e.coli, this intestinal virus can make you sick for weeks.
Salmonella is a bacterial infection that ranges from fairly mild to fatal depending on the severity of the strain and the individual health of the victim. As with other intestinal disorders that can affect people after a flood, it's more serious in children, the elderly, or those who don't have strong immune systems.
Always remember to err on the side of caution when it comes to both flood water and your tap water during the aftermath of a flood. Never assume that your city water is safe until the authorities issue an all clear statement. Click here for more info on this subject.