Hurricanes brings heavy rains, storm surges and wind. When home and property are damaged, homeowners face tens of thousands of dollars in potential clean-up costs. Health threats abound, especially in low lying areas where flooding and water retention after the storm occurs. Here are 6 hurricane health threats, provided by the CDC, all homeowners should remember after the hurricane.
6. Loss of Power – When power goes out, all refrigeration and freezer units will stop running. By the time homeowners return from evacuation, they will have no idea how long power was out if restored or when power went out if the problem has not been solved. Perishable foods should be thrown away and refrigerators and freezers cleaned out with a mild bleach solution or disinfectant.
5. Mold Growth – Water is the largest threat during a hurricane. If flooding occurred or torrential rains damaged interior surface of the home, mold growth could be a hidden problem. Experts should inspect a home after a hurricane and for several months after the storm has passed.
4. Cleanup Efforts – Communities bind together in times of struggle and cleanup after a hurricane. Cleanup efforts need to be safe to prevent injury and potential health hazards. Whenever possible, wear gloves and a face mask when cleaning up and never wade in standing water. Local sewer systems could have washed into standing water causing health threats and potential for illness.
3. Carbon Monoxide – If using portable heating or cooking devices in the home after a hurricane, it is important to keep the area well ventilated. Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless gas that is deadly. The elderly and young population are most at risk for carbon monoxide poisoning.
2. Insect and Animal Infestation – Wet lands equal insect trouble. Insects like mosquitoes can carry illness and pass that illness on to people with one bite. With flooding and wind damage, there is a good chance animals have been forced out of their homes. This could cause animal infestation in the town or even a home. Before entering a home, purchase a can of pepper spray or bear pepper spray for protection.
1. Water and Food – Whether talking about shortages or contamination, food and water are a constant threat when a hurricane hits. Food and water is not edible until local water supplies can be tested and food is replaced with fresh supply. This is especially important is flooding occurred, tainting the water supplies and potential poisoning food. Home food stores are also considered unsafe after a hurricane.
Preparing for a hurricane can help save lives, but recovering from a hurricane holds just as many threats as the storm. Local and state health departments should have hurricane preparedness information on file for homeowners who want to learn more about how to prepare and recover from a hurricane.
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