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    Infectious Diseases A-Z: Standing water and diseases after the storm

a car submerged in flood water
Though most flood water eventually recedes or is removed, these water accumulations can pose significant health risks. Jessica Sheehy, infectious diseases physician assistant at Mayo Clinic Health System in Mankato, says, “Standing flood water can be a breeding ground for mosquitoes, which carry diseases such as West Nile Virus and encephalitis, Flood water and standing pools may contain chemicals and sewage, as well.” Sheehy recommends avoiding standing flood water whenever possible. She offers this advice:

  • Don’t allow children to play in flood waters.
  • Wash your hands if you’ve come in contact with flood water or touch objects that have.
  • Disinfect items that have touched flood water.
  • Never expose an open wound to flood water —  use a waterproof bandage at all times,
  • Don’t eat foods that may have come into contact with flood water, even if they are packaged.

To learn more about protecting yourself against the dangers of flood water, visit Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Also, visit Mayo Clinic to learn more about infectious diseases.

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