Wednesday, June 3, 2015

The Dangers from Flooding that You Don’t Always Hear

Within the past month, several major areas of Texas have been hit with severe flooding leaving damage to people’s homes and properties including the loss of loved ones.  While we know flooding can be dangerous, there are sometimes hidden dangers that come with high floods in usually dry areas.

The Texas Poison Center Network wants to share with you some dangers that can persist after the floodwaters have subsided so that you stay informed and keep your family safe from potential poisons. Check out the list compiled below on things to look out for in flooded or recently flooded areas.


·         With all the rain, snakes, including venomous ones, have been washed up into areas where they might not usually be seen. If you see a snake, try to avoid it at all costs. For your own safety, do not handle any wildlife.

·         If you are bitten by a snake, please seek medical attention and contact a poison control center at 1-800-222-1222 for immediate help and advice on appropriate first aid that should be done on site. Additionally our nurses, pharmacists and physicians can tell you what NOT to do as many misconceptions and myths persist in regards to snakebites.


·         Standing water is a breeding ground for pesky mosquitos. Make sure you drain any standing water around your home including empty buckets, cans and even flowerpots.

·         Mosquitos may become a real nuisance after all the rain, so make sure you use a repellent that contains DEET (for children over the age of 2 months, applied once a day) to help avoid mosquito-borne illnesses. Please follow the directions on the label for its use.  

·         If possible, avoid being outside at dusk and dawn. If you have to be outside, wear clothing that provides optimal coverage.

Contaminated water

·         Keep children away from standing flood water or storm drains. The water could be contaminated and unsafe.

·         One of the biggest threats is posed by fecal coliform bacteria contamination in floodwater. Fecal coliform bacteria, such as E.coli from human and animal waste, gets stirred up during a flood.  In addition, follow “boil water” alerts that may be issued and do not drink water from unknown sources.

·         Flooded homes might now have issues of mold. It is best to hire a professional to have this checked out and ensure your home is safe to live in.

Lack of electricity

·         If you are in an area without electricity, please use precautions when using generators and other power or heat sources that might produce carbon monoxide.  Carbon monoxide poisoning in the home is very dangerous and because it is a colorless and odorless gas, it can happen without you even being aware.

·         For more info on carbon monoxide poisoning, please see

 If you have any questions concerning toxins or poisons associated with floods, please do not hesitate to contact the Texas Poison Center Network. They are waiting to help you 24/7 at 1-800-222-1222.


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