COLUMBIA, Miss. (WDAM) - When flood waters back off, people go straight to work cleaning and salvaging what they can.
But there are some health and safety concerns to keep in mind while undergoing cleanup efforts.
Health professionals at the Columbia Family Clinic say mold growing in homes is one concern.
"One thing that will be bad after the floods recede is you can get mold in the house, so it would be important to wear face masks,” said certified family nurse practitioner Amy McKenzie.
Mosquitoes are another big health risk for the flood areas.
“The mosquito population is probably going to be at an all-time high around here,” McKenzie said. “That can put you at risk for West Nile Virus and that kind of thing. It’s important to where long sleeves and use bug spray to kind of keep yourself at a lower risk of being bitten.”
People should also be sure and keep children and themselves out of the waters.
“Because of the sewage and fecal matter in the water, most of the sickness associated with that is from ingesting the food or water that can cause E. coli or salmonella, even some more severe illnesses such as hepatitis,” McKenzie said. “You can also get skin infections such as tetanus, staph infection and even flesh eating bacteria that can be acquired just from entering the water if you have broken skin or abrasions.”
The Mississippi State Department of Health advises residents to wear protective clothing and sturdy shoes while cleaning up to prevent cuts and scratches from debris.
If you do not receive your water supply from a public water system regulated by MSDH, you should have your private well inspected and sampled in order to protect your health.