DSHS Reminds the Public of Health Precautions Following Hurricane Laura

News Release
News Release
August 27, 2020

News Release
Aug. 27, 2020

The Texas Department ofState Health Services is sharing health precautions as residents return to areasaffected by Hurricane Laura. Because of the ongoing threat of COVID-19, residentsshould continue social distancing and wearing masks when interacting withpeople who don’t live in their household.

DSHS urges people to followall local drinking water and other safety notices and throw out food that mayhave spoiled or been contaminated. Because of the risk of carbon monoxidepoisoning, gasoline-powered generators should not be used indoors.

Health officials offerthe following advice:


  • Continueto take precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19, including keeping sixfeet of distance from people not in your household, wearing a mask when aroundothers, and frequently washing hands and disinfecting surfaces.
  • Self-quarantineand monitor yourself for symptoms for 14 days after leaving a shelter where youwere housed with people from outside your household.


  • Return in daylight forbest visibility to be aware of any unsafe power sources. Do not use lanterns ortorches until after the premises are safe from gas leaks.
  • Always wear closed-toeshoes in post-storm areas to reduce the chances of punctures or cuts from nailsand other sharp objects.
  • Snakes and other wildanimals may seek shelter in homes, vehicles and trees and can be injured inheavy rains and winds. Do not handle any wildlife. Seek immediate treatment ifbitten or injured by an animal. Beware of displaced pets.

Cleanupand Recovery

  • Never run gas-poweredelectrical generators or use gas or charcoal grills indoors. Carbon monoxidecan build up and be fatal to people indoors.
  • Never mix bleach withproducts that contain ammonia to prevent the creation of toxic fumes.
  • Disinfect all furniture,woodwork, household surfaces and toys in homes that have flooded. Use asolution of one cup bleach to five gallons of water.
  • Wash hands frequentlyduring cleanup to help avoid contaminating areas that have already beencleaned.
  • Protect yourself frommosquito bites with an EPA-registered insect repellent. Standing water afterfloods can be a breeding place for mosquitoes. Drain all the standing water youcan and dump out containers like toys, flower pots and saucers, old tires, cansand storm debris.
  • Try to rest and conserveenergy and avoid heat stress. People with heart conditions and other illnessesshould avoid strenuous exertion.


  • People under boil wateralerts and those with private wells that may have been contaminated byfloodwater should use only bottled, boiled or treated water until water hasbeen tested and found safe.
  • When boiling water fordrinking, cooking and washing, bring it to a rolling boil for at least oneminute and then let it cool. If boiling isn’t possible, water can bedisinfected with regular, unscented household bleach using one-eighth teaspoon,about eight drops, per gallon of water. Add the bleach, stir well and let standfor 30 minutes.


  • Do not eat food that hasbeen in contact with flood water.
  • If electricity has beenoff, refrigerated food may have spoiled. Discard any food that has been at roomtemperature for more than two hours or that has an unusual odor or color.
  • Wash hands with soap anddisinfected water before eating or handling food, after clean-up work and afterhandling flood water-contaminated items. 


(Contact: DSHSPress Office at pressofficer@dshs.texas.gov)