Post Hurricane Health & Safety concerns

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In the aftermath of a hurricane, there are a number of health and safety concerns to look out for. To ensure your safety after a storm, remember these important points.

Health Care

Hospitals and medical facilities may operate only a limited basis if they’ve sustained structural damage or loss of power. Mobile health units may be available to provide basic services to residents with cuts, scrapes, bruises, and mild illnesses. Stay tuned to WINK News, The Weather Authority, for more medical information.

Carbon Monoxide

Though carbon monoxide is a colorless, tasteless, and odorless poison gas, it can be easily avoided by not burning charcoal, gas grills, or gas-powered generators inside houses, garages, vehicles, or tents. Carbon monoxide poisoning symptoms include fatigue, weakness, chest pains, shortness of breath, nausea, vomiting, headaches, confusion, lack of coordination, and impaired vision.

Food Safety

If food that has not been refrigerated for more than two hours has an unusual odor, color, or texture and is no longer cool to the touch, it is unsafe to eat. Throw it out.

Drinking Water

Do not assume that public water supplies in hurricane-affected areas are safe to drink. Instead, use bottled water for cooking, eating, and drinking until public announcements have been made confirming the water’s safety. If no bottled water is available, vigorously boil tap water for at least one minute to make sure it is safe to drink.

Hand Washing and Sanitization

Wash your hands often with soap and clean water. If you’re not sure about the source of the water, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer to decrease the risk of illness, infection, or contact with disease-causing bacteria.


Mosquitoes will increase in number dramatically after heavy rains and flooding. To minimize your risk of bites and mosquito-borne diseases, public health officials recommend the five D’s of prevention:

  • Dusk to Dawn—avoid the outdoors from sunset to sunrise.
  • Dress—wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants, and socks.
  • DEET—use repellents with DEET, usually 30% solutions. Do not use DEET on children younger than 2 months old.
  • Drainage—inspect your home and neighborhood, and dump any standing water where mosquitoes can lay their eggs.

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