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Friday, 01 August 2014

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Cumbrian health chief issues floods safety advice

A Cumbria health chief has issued for health and safety advice for people caught up in the floods.

November floods photo
Main Stret, Cockermouth, at 3.30pm. Photo: Steve Vargas

People are being advised to take extra precautions to stay healthy.

Dr Nigel Calvert, NHS Cumbria’s Associate Director of Public Health, said: “There are several precautions which people should take if they live in an area affected by flooding."

They are:

  • Where possible, keep all medication on the second floor and, if possible, in a watertight container. Pack all necessary medicines in the unfortunate event of having to be evacuated.
  • Wherever possible, try to avoid coming into direct contact with water you think may be contaminated.
  • Parents should not let their children play in flood water and also ensure that any items suspected of being in contact with contaminated water are thoroughly cleaned before further use.
  • Suitable waterproof gloves (such as household cleaning gloves) and wellingtons should be worn if it is necessary to come into contact with flood water.
  • Cuts and other open wounds should be covered with a waterproof plaster.
  • Hands should be thoroughly cleaned in hot water and soap after contact with water or other items suspected of being contaminated.
  • Food or drink suspected of being contaminated should be thrown away.
  • Don’t eat contaminated garden or allotment produce
  • Wash down any contaminated surfaces with hot water and detergent or disinfectant. Thoroughly wash all crockery, pots and pans etc in hot soapy water.
  • Don’t use electrical or gas appliances affected by flooding until they have been checked by a competent professional.
  • Exercise particular caution if walking through murky water as this can often conceal hidden hazards.
  • Anyone who has been in contact with contaminated water or sewage who develops diarrhoea, fever or abdominal pain in the following 10 days should seek medical advice.

Dr Calvert added: “As it is not always clear whether water is contaminated or not, local residents are urged to exercise caution, cover any cuts with a plaster, wear protective clothing such as waterproof gloves and wellingtons where possible, and avoid contact with water which is known to be contaminated with sewage. Hand washing is very important.”

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