Storms and hurricanes devastate different regions every year. Unfortunately, some of the biggest dangers caused by storms can occur after the storm has already passed. In addition to a lack of supplies and road closures, the standing flood water resulting from storms can cause serious health risks. Here are some of the most severe problems floods can bring.
Standing flood water is teeming with health risks. The CDC has a section detailing all of the possible diseases that become more likely in the event of a storm disaster, including Norovirus and the West Nile Virus. Bacterial infections and diseases become a greater possibility because flood water can infect everything it touches. This can include anything from articles of clothing to the toys that children play with. For this reason, it is incredibly important not to drink or eat anything that has been contaminated by standing flood water, and to always wash hands as often as possible- especially before meals. In addition, open wounds pose a far greater risk of becoming infected as a result of storm waters. If at all possible, keep open wounds out of the water or cover with waterproof bandages.
Disease isn’t the only invisible hazard that can exist within standing water. Murky water can conceal dangerous insects or even threatening animals beneath the surface. Much of this depends on the location of the storm, but it’s not unheard of for alligators to make use of a new habitat resulting from a storm. In addition, much of the physical damage caused by a storm is still present in the water. This can include broken glass or sharp metal which might be impossible to see before it causes injury. On top of that, storms frequently cause damage to power lines. These can lead to a risk of electrocution in standing water. Flood water itself poses the possibility of causing drowning, whether people are in their cars or trying to swim across.