DCHHS Warns Dallas County Residents of Flood and Standing Water Dangers

Filed under: Community |

DALLAS (June 3, 2015– Dallas County Health and Human Services (DCHHS) is warning Dallas County residents to take precaution with flood and standing water.

“Several areas throughout Dallas County are still experiencing the aftermath of all the rain and flooding,” said Zachary Thompson, DCHHS director. “It is important for residents to understand what can happen if they come in contact with flood water.”

“Flood waters and standing waters pose various risks including transmission of infectious diseases, chemical hazard exposures, and personal injuries,” said Dr. Christopher Perkins, DCHHS medical director/health authority. “Dallas County residents should refrain from all activities near flooded areas.”

Risks from flood and standing water include:

In the air

  • Airborne viruses
  • Evaporated oil products
  • Carbon monoxide in enclosed places near gasoline motors
  • Mold spores (hazard for people with mold allergy, asthma)
  • Mosquito-borne infections, such as West Nile Virus
  • Smoke from fires

Floating on water

  • Gasoline and fuel oil from vehicles, storage tanks
  • Crude oil

Dissolved in water

  • Pesticides, herbicides
  • Lead, chromium, and other heavy metals
  • Benzene and similar carcinogens

Hazards under water

  • Sharp objects unseen in murky water
  • Drop-offs and holes can cause falls, drowning
  • Fallen electric lines possibly charged

Waterborne illnesses can also be acquired from coming in contact with flood and standing water.

“Microorganisms that cause Cyclosporiasis and Cryptosporidiosis are commonly found in contaminated water,” said Tammara Scroggins, DCHHS assistant director public health communicable disease. “These germs can enter the body by accidental swallowing, ingestion, or swimming in contaminated water.”

DCHHS recommends the following:

  • Wash your hands frequently. If you come in contact with flood waters, make sure to wash your hands thoroughly. Practice good hygiene for yourself and your family.
  • Do not swim in flood waters. Aside from all other flood water risks, drowning is the leading cause of death during a flood.
  • Avoid contact with wildlife. Many animals, insects, and reptiles can be displaced by flood waters. If you see an animal in an unusual environment, do not attempt to help it on your own. Call your local animal control service.
  • Avoid mosquito exposure. Mosquitoes are extremely prevalent among standing water areas, especially floods. Be sure to wear insect repellent and drain or treat standing water with larvicides, such as mosquito dunks.

DCHHS encourages citizens to seek medical attention when they experience symptoms of waterborne illness which include gastrointestinal discomfort such as abdominal cramps, pain, and bloating, and also respiratory problems such as cough, congestion, and chest pain/pressure.

Physicians and laboratories are required by law to report certain illnesses to the local health department.