FLOOD WATER IS DANGEROUS, DISGUSTING AND FILTHY DIRTY. IT CAN BE RIDDLED WITH POTENTIALLY LIFE-THREATENING HAZARDS!
There are tons of social media posts, videos and pics on the internet showing the devastation of floods. Unfortunately, you can also find the same for people using flood water for recreational fun and as a virtual playground. Entire families, or worse teens and young children, are rafting, canoeing, kayaking, playing with inflatables, running through the water in their bare feet, splashing, jumping, and even swimming in potentially toxic, hazardous water.
Raw sewage is germ infested containing disease-causing micro-organisms like E Coli, Giardia, Cryptosporidium, Hepatitis A, Cholera and more. Open cuts and wounds can become severely infected by contaminated water. Raw sewage can contain the following:
Early symptoms from exposure to contaminated flood water may include upset stomach, intestinal problems, headache and other flu-like symptoms; for open wounds watch for redness, oozing pus, swelling and soreness. You should seek medical attention if you suspect illness or infections.
Flooding can create little ponds which become natural breeding grounds for mosquitoes, which can carry the West Nile virus.
Flood water can contain hundreds of different chemicals that are harmful for the body.
Flood water picks up everything in its path and is generally murky and muddy. Sharp and dangerous objects pose potential risks as they are hidden from sight and can puncture the skin. These objects could cause tetanus, E. Coli, and staphylococcus (staph infections) and/or could cause you to fall and get tangled or severely injured.
Hidden rocks, ditches and potholes may cause children (and adults) to lose their footing and strain a muscle or turn an ankle or worse they could be knocked unconscious and drown.
During a flood, as water recedes, storm drains, storm pipes and manholes become powerful suction devices that can sweep away a child or adult in an instant. They can be hidden just below the surface of shallow water. Children can be sucked into the mouths of hidden drainage pipes and drown; being carried long distances underwater, with their body washing up in a lake or river miles away and days or even weeks later.
Sink holes can occur suddenly and with great violence during a flood. They can break water mains and pipes, cable & electrical conduits, gas pipes, and cause neighboring structures to become unstable. Unfortunately, teens, children, and even adults are curious becoming “looky-loos” and put themselves in danger.
Water may not be safe to drink, cook or clean with after a flood. During and after flooding, water can become contaminated with microorganisms such as bacteria, sewage, heating oil, agricultural or industrial waste, chemicals and other substances that can cause serious illness. Always assume that your water is contaminated until the authorities tell you otherwise. If you have a private well you should have your water tested before resuming with consumption. Be sure to inform your children about the following.
The irony is, during a flood, there are massive amounts of water, but none of it, including your tap water may be potable for drinking, bathing, cooking, or cleaning.
During emergencies and disaster situations, like floods, potable drinking water is always a number one concern. Bottled water is one of the first things to disappear rapidly from store shelves.
Contaminated water can be boiled to kill most disease-causing micro-organisms by bringing the water to a rapid boil for a minimum of 3 minutes. Unfortunately, boiling water cannot remove hazardous chemicals and heavy metals, and in the case of microcystins from green algae, boiling actually increases this toxin.
As a precautionary measure, it's a great idea to invest in the combination of a portable water purifier and a portable water filtration device to kill water-borne pathogens, remove hazardous chemicals, and to remove dirt, fine particles, and other harmful contaminants.
Be safe, be prepared!