Given that so many people suddenly have “lake-” and “river-front” views from the recent downpour, it’s tempting to want to haul out the kayak or Big White Swan raft to float on water where cars once drove or soccer players once kicked balls. However, it’s best to stay out of the brown, murky water that turned the North Shore into a soggy mess on July 12. Here’s an alert from the Lake County Health Department advising people to be careful during flooding.
Heavy rains in Lake County have brought about incidents of flooding and possible sewer back-ups in a number of areas. The Lake County Health Department and Community Health Center recommends the following steps to minimize health hazards due to flooding:
- Do not attempt to enter or cross flooded streams or rivers. Floodwaters can be very powerful. Even streams, rivers, and areas of standing water that appear to be calm or shallow can be very dangerous.
- Avoid contact with floodwater if possible. Flood water can contain organisms that may cause disease. Prevent children and pets from playing in or drinking water left in puddles or flooded areas.
- Wash hands and scrub fingernails thoroughly with soap and safe water, especially before eating or drinking.
- Do not eat food that has been exposed to floodwaters. Thoroughly wash off sealed cans in good condition.
- Immerse the cans in a bleach disinfecting solution made by mixing two teaspoons of household bleach per gallon of water for at least five minutes. All spoiled foods and leaky or bulged cans should be discarded.
- Consult a physician about obtaining a tetanus booster if you work in or walk through floodwaters. People with open cuts or other wounds should take extreme care when walking through floodwaters due to the possibility of contracting tetanus. In general, flood workers who have had a tetanus shot within the past 10 years will not need to be revaccinated. However, workers who acquire a wound and who have not had a tetanus shot within 5 to 10 years may need a tetanus booster.
- If you have a private well, check its condition. If the well casing is submerged, surface water may have entered the well and contaminated the drinking water. In these cases, you should not drink the water until the flood waters have receded and the water from the well is tested and shown to meet drinking water standards.
- Contact Environmental Health Services at (847) 377-8020 for well testing information.
- Check for safety hazards before entering a flooded home or basement. Make sure that no electrical or other safety hazards, such as leaking gas, exist.
- Scrub basement and other areas that have been flooded with a household detergent solution. Use a solution of one-quarter cup of household bleach in a gallon of water, then flush the washed areas with safe water.
- Scrub furniture, walls, fixtures and appliances with soap and safe water.
- Machine wash affected clothing, bedding, and cloth toys.
- Sanitize non-porous children’s toys by first washing them with soap and safe water, then soaking them for at least one minute in a solution of one tablespoon of bleach to a gallon of water. Do not rinse objects after soaking; allow to air dry.
Do not hesitate to ask any questions if you have any doubts about the safety of any food, water or conditions around your home. Call Environmental Health Services of the Lake County Health Department at: (847) 377-8020.
You can access an interactive map of current road closures and traffic information on the Lake County PASSAGE website, www.lakecountypassage.com/ and on Twitter by following @LCPASSAGE.
Submitted by the Lake County Health Department