See a letter from Ellen about the donation campaign. Your help matters!
Contaminated food and water can be a problem following any storm involving flooding. Floodwaters may carry silt, raw sewage, bacteria, oil, or chemical wastes.
Intestinal diseases, causing diarrhea and dysentery, are the most likely illnesses to be spread from flooding. The parasite giarardia and intestinal viruses present in floodwater are most common. Waterborne transmission of E. coli, Salmonella and Shigella is also a concern. Giardia symptoms may begin within a few days after infection. Cryptsporidia must be filtered out. Iodine has no effect on it because it enters the body in a type of hibernating stage, and only hatches into the active form after several weeks of incubating in the intestines.
Donít drink or swim, bathe or play in floodwater or wilderness waater. Any pink tissue, like lips or the inside of the nose and eyelids, is porous, and can absorb microorganisms. Licking lips wet with contaminated water can be as bad as drinking it. A dip under a waterfall or a splash of spray can mean a bout with a bad intestinal bug.
Clean dishes and kitchenware that have been flooded before using them. If you are washing dishes, add 1/2 cup Clorox to each (8 gallons) sinkful of questionable rinse water, and let the dishes sit in the rinse for at least 10 minutes. Then rinse each dish in disinfected drinking water. Air or sun dry.
Be sure to use boiled or disinfected water to brush teeth and rinse toothbrushes. Wash hands thoroughly after exposure to it. Be especially careful to keep children away from floodwater. Protect against cutting yourself or exposing cuts to the contaminated water.
Filters for regular tap water will NOT clean flood-contaminated water. These methods will destry bacteria, but will not remove other contaminants such as heavy metals, salts and most other chemicals. Before purifying, let any suspended particles settle to the bottom, or strain them through layers of paper towel or clean cloth. Make water safe to drink by one of the three following methods:
With chlorine bleach: