Flood Related Information & Resources
Fears that filthy water from floods could trigger a health crisis are largely unfounded in industrialized nations.
Flood water may contain dangerous bacteria from mixing with raw human sewage (particularly in urban areas), but this is unlikely to trigger disease outbreaks. There is no risk from serious infections such as typhoid and cholera in flood water in this state because these diseases are not present in the general population in Louisiana. Although harmful micro-organisms in flood water are very diluted and present a low risk, there are precautions to be aware of.
People are advised to avoid direct contact with the flood water as a precautionary measure. Children should not be allowed to play in floodwaters. The main risk of disease comes from drinking floodwater.
If you have swallowed some floodwater: You probably will not be sick at all. There is no need to seek immediate treatment. However, if you were to have diarrhea or any other gastro-intestinal illness, seek medical care.
If you have been in contact with flood water: Wading or having hands in the flood water carry a minimal risk of infection. After exposure to flood waters, wash with soap and water after getting out of the area. If contact was extensive, a shower is recommended. Simple soap is sufficient; there is no need for an antibacterial soap.
Any open wound exposed to flood water needs to be disinfected and treated appropriately.
Immunizations after exposure to flood water
No special immunizations are necessary. Experience and studies from previous serious national floods demonstrate that increased risk or incidence of tetanus, typhoid fever or hepatitis A has not occurred. Recommendations for these immunizations are the same as during non-flood conditions.
Tetanus - A booster for tetanus should be given to anyone sustaining an injury (particularly lacerations and puncture wounds) that has not received a vaccination within the last 10 years, 5 years for particularly major or unclean wounds.
Flood and Mold Cleanup
- Mold Brochure, “Mold: What You Need to Know About Your Health and Your Property” (available in English, Spanish, Vietnamese and French Creole)
- Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) Education Service
- “Creating a Healthy Home: A Field Guide for Clean-up of Flooded Homes”
- A list of currently licensed ‘Mold Remediators’ can be found at the Louisiana State Licensing Board for Contractors
- EPA: What to do after a Flood - Spanish, Vietnamese
- Directory of OPH Regional Offices
Flood Safety Resources
- After the Flood
- Flood Safety Fact Sheet
- Returning Home
- Tree Removal Safety
- Avoiding Flood Damage: A Checklist for Homeowners
- Planning for Pets, Livestock and Wildlife
- Electrical Safety During a Flood
- Food and Water In An Emergency
- Septic Systems after a Flood
- Returning Home (CDC)
- Reclaim Heirlooms & Other Items after a Flood
- Salvaging Common Materials
- CDC Website
- EPA Website
- The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)
Private Water Well Safety
- Title 56 of the Louisiana State Sanitary Code - the law that applies to private water wells
- Private Water Well Information
- US Environmental Protection Agency’s “What to do after the Flood”