Public health officials are reminding residents to avoid contact with floodwaters and to follow some basic steps to avoid injury and illness as they respond to flooding across the county.
"Flooding can lead to significant health risks posed by improper waste disposal, cleanliness of drinking water, electrical hazards and mold damage," said Mindy Waldron, Administrator of the Fort Wayne-Allen County Department of Health. "We would urge people to exercise caution during clean-up efforts."
Floodwaters can contain harmful parasites and bacteria which can cause diseases such as Tetanus, E. coli and Leptospirosis. If there is a break in the skin, the bacteria can enter the bloodstream and cause gastrointestinal illnesses, skin infections and other illnesses.
It is best to avoid contact with floodwaters as much as possible or at least to minimize it by using personal protection equipment such as boots and gloves. Never allow children or pets to play in floodwaters.
If people do come in contact with floodwater, they should bathe and wash their clothes with hot, soapy water immediately afterward. Seek medical attention if you experience symptoms such as a fever of more than 100 degrees, cuts in skin appearing infected or painful, diarrhea lasting more than 3 days or bloody diarrhea.
People whose homes were flooded should also take the followings steps:
For more information on floodwater safety, visit www.allencountyhealth.com.