Press Release
April 26, 2013
Melaney Arnold (217) 558-0500

After The Flood – Staying Safe and Healthy

Food, water, safety and cleaning guidance

SPRINGFIELD – Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) Director Dr. LaMar Hasbrouck is urging residents in and around flooded areas to take precautions to help prevent disease and stay safe.

“Flood waters can contaminate food, water, house appliances and just about anything it touches,” said Dr. Hasbrouck. “To avoid illness it is important for people whose homes have been impacted by flooding to make sure their water is safe to drink, to know if food needs to be thrown out and to properly clean all items touched by flood waters.”

Flood water and sewer overflows can contain bacteria, fecal material, viruses and other organisms that may cause disease. The following information can help protect communities from illness and injury:

  • Avoid skin contact with flood and sewer water, especially cuts and sores. Keep them clean and covered.
  • Do not allow children to play in areas contaminated by flood water and sewage backup.
  • Do not eat or drink anything exposed to flood and sewer water.
  • Keep contaminated objects, water and hands away from mucous membranes (mouth, eyes and nose).
  • Wash hands frequently, especially after bathroom use, before eating and immediately following contact with flood and sewer water or contaminated objects or surfaces.

Food and Water Safety

Use only bottled or disinfected water for drinking, cooking, dish washing, tooth brushing and bathing until you are sure the water supply is safe. Some communities may be under boil orders because the water quality in the system is potentially compromised by flooding or equipment damage. People with private water wells who think their well may be impacted by flooding should contact their local health department for instructions on disinfecting and testing their wells. People in counties without a local health department can contact the nearest Illinois Department of Public Health regional office. Instructions for disinfecting a well can also be found in the Department’s After the Flood pamphlet. The Department recommends bringing water to a rolling boil for five minute.

idph online home
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Illinois Department of Public Health
535 West Jefferson Street
Springfield, Illinois 62761
Phone 217-782-4977
Fax 217-782-3987
TTY 800-547-0466
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