DOH warns of health risks posed by floodwaters

(WOFL) - Floodwaters continue to plague the state following Hurricane Irma, and Florida Department of Health officials are asking residents to be aware of the risks they pose.

DOH officials are asking Floridians to be alert of wildlife that may have been displaced by the storm including snakes and alligators. If you see a snake or other dangerous wildlife, back away from it slowly and do not touch it. Call your county animal control agency if you find one in your home.

Heavy rains and flooding can lead to a rise in mosquitoes and taking some simple measures can help prevent them from multiplying. Authorities urge people to drain standing water from outdoor containers; wear long-sleeved shirts and pants; repair broken screening on windows, doors, porches, and patios; and wear insect repellent that contains DEET.

Health officals are also recommending residents take the following precautions to prevent foodborne diseases:

  • Do not eat any food that may have come into contact with flood waters or tidal surges.
  • Undamaged canned food can be saved if labels are removed and cans are disinfected with a solution of 1/4 cup of bleach in 1 gallon of water.
  • Infants should preferably be breast fed or fed only pre-mixed canned baby formula. If you used powdered formula prepared with untreated water, be sure to boil it first.
  • Unpowered refrigerators will keep foods cool for about 4 hours. Thawed and refrigerated foods should be thrown out after that.

Health officials are also asking parents to prevent children from playing in floodwater as the water could be contaminated with fecal matter. If you think your children's toys have come into contact with floodwater, use 1/4 cup of bleach in one gallon of water to disinfect them.

For more information, please contact your county health department or visit or

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