July 27, 2010
Health and Safety Recommendations for Flooding
Food and water safety and clean-up
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Damon T. Arnold is urging residents in and around flooded areas to take precautions to help prevent disease and stay safe and healthy.
Floodwaters can contain bacteria, fecal material, viruses, and other organisms that may cause disease. The following information can help protect communities from illness and injury:
Food and Water Safety
Generally, do not eat any food that has come in contact with floodwater, including food in refrigerators or freezers. All fresh fruits and vegetables exposed to floodwater should be thrown out, especially those in home gardens. If the safety of any food or beverage is questionable, follow this simple rule: When in doubt, throw it out.
If the power has gone out, a fully stocked freezer will keep food frozen two days if the door remains closed. A half-full freezer can keep foods frozen about one day. Food in the refrigerator can normally stay cold for four to six hours. Discard milk, cheeses and other foods prone to spoilage. Completely thawed meats and vegetables should be discarded without question.
For canned goods:
Public and private water supplies may be contaminated in a flood so listen for public announcements on the safety of your area’s water supply. If your water is contaminated, use only bottled or disinfected water for drinking, cooking, tooth brushing and bathing until you are sure the water supply is safe. If you have to use tap water, boil it vigorously for at least five minutes. Private water wells should be pumped out, allowed to recharge naturally, disinfected and the water tested before drinking or being used for cooking.
Removal and cleanup of floodwater is essential. It is important to take the following precautions to prevent injury:
The following cleaning guidelines may help prevent the transmission of disease and reduce property loss:
For additional information, check out our After the Flood booklet at www.idph.state.il.us/pdf/AfterTheFlood.pdf.
of Public Health
535 West Jefferson Street
Springfield, Illinois 62761
Questions or Comments