DSHS Reminds the Public of Health Precautions Following Hurricane Laura
Aug. 27, 2020
The Texas Department of State Health Services is sharing health precautions as residents return to areas affected by Hurricane Laura. Because of the ongoing threat of COVID-19, residents should continue social distancing and wearing masks when interacting with people who don’t live in their household.
DSHS urges people to follow all local drinking water and other safety notices and throw out food that may have spoiled or been contaminated. Because of the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning, gasoline-powered generators should not be used indoors.
Health officials offer the following advice:
- Continue to take precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19, including keeping six feet of distance from people not in your household, wearing a mask when around others, and frequently washing hands and disinfecting surfaces.
- Self-quarantine and monitor yourself for symptoms for 14 days after leaving a shelter where you were housed with people from outside your household.
- Return in daylight for best visibility to be aware of any unsafe power sources. Do not use lanterns or torches until after the premises are safe from gas leaks.
- Always wear closed-toe shoes in post-storm areas to reduce the chances of punctures or cuts from nails and other sharp objects.
- Snakes and other wild animals may seek shelter in homes, vehicles and trees and can be injured in heavy rains and winds. Do not handle any wildlife. Seek immediate treatment if bitten or injured by an animal. Beware of displaced pets.
Cleanup and Recovery
- Never run gas-powered electrical generators or use gas or charcoal grills indoors. Carbon monoxide can build up and be fatal to people indoors.
- Never mix bleach with products that contain ammonia to prevent the creation of toxic fumes.
- Disinfect all furniture, woodwork, household surfaces and toys in homes that have flooded. Use a solution of one cup bleach to five gallons of water.
- Wash hands frequently during cleanup to help avoid contaminating areas that have already been cleaned.
- Protect yourself from mosquito bites with an EPA-registered insect repellent. Standing water after floods can be a breeding place for mosquitoes. Drain all the standing water you can and dump out containers like toys, flower pots and saucers, old tires, cans and storm debris.
- Try to rest and conserve energy and avoid heat stress. People with heart conditions and other illnesses should avoid strenuous exertion.
- People under boil water alerts and those with private wells that may have been contaminated by floodwater should use only bottled, boiled or treated water until water has been tested and found safe.
- When boiling water for drinking, cooking and washing, bring it to a rolling boil for at least one minute and then let it cool. If boiling isn’t possible, water can be disinfected with regular, unscented household bleach using one-eighth teaspoon, about eight drops, per gallon of water. Add the bleach, stir well and let stand for 30 minutes.
- Do not eat food that has been in contact with flood water.
- If electricity has been off, refrigerated food may have spoiled. Discard any food that has been at room temperature for more than two hours or that has an unusual odor or color.
- Wash hands with soap and disinfected water before eating or handling food, after clean-up work and after handling flood water-contaminated items.
(Contact: DSHS Press Office at email@example.com)