Protect Health During Flood Response

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:  Friday, March 22, 2019

CONTACT: Joshua Clayton (, (605) 773-3737

Protect Health During Flood Response


PIERRE, S.D. – South Dakotans in flood-affected areas need to keep several health-related concerns in mind as they deal with cleanup issues, says the state Department of Health. The following fact sheet to provides basic information about some typical flood-related health and concerns. Find more flood-related health and safety information visit 


Water Safety:

Flood waters can be a risk to your health because they can contain human and animal waste, chemicals, and other contaminants. Do not eat or drink anything contaminated with flood water.

  • Wash hands with soap and water after contact with flood water to avoid illness caused by waterborne disease.
  • Clean and disinfect toys and surfaces that have been contaminated by flood water.
  • Care for wounds and rashes in contact with flood water by washing with soap and water. Seek medical care if redness, swelling, or drainage develops.
  • Listen to water advisories from local authorities to find out if your water is safe for drinking and bathing. Flooded wells should be tested before homeowners resume use.

Clean Up:

Once flood waters recede, take care to protect your health as you clean up your home or business.

  • Wear the right gear:  waterproof boots, mask, gloves, and eye protection
  • Take care of your health:  stay hydrated, pace yourself, and use caution when moving heavy/bulky objects or using power equipment
  • Clean up and dry your home quickly to avoid mold growth.
    • Wear protective equipment, including a mask, gloves, and eye protection.
    • Allergic reactions to mold are common. Symptoms include: sneezing, runny nose, red eyes, and skin rash
    • Prevent carbon monoxide poisoning by using generators outside and at least 20 feet from doors, windows, or vents.
    • Be aware of potential hazards:  electrical, chemical, and structural
    • Use the following guidelines for disinfecting your home
      • For food surfaces:  Mix 1 teaspoon of bleach in 1 gallon of water
      • For items and surfaces that have touched flood water:  Mix 1 cup of bleach in 5 gallons of water
      • For hard surfaces with mold growth:  Mix 1 cup of in 1 gallon of water

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