healthAs we all know flooding spells health hazards and with that in mind the Ministry of Health is advising Belizeans to desist from swimming in flooded waters. In a release issued today MOH is asking parents to protect children from becoming ill from diarrhea, Hepatitis A, parasites and other health problems by keeping them away from flood water and mud and avoid them playing with anything that has come in contact with flood water or mud.

The elderly, and persons with chronic health problems are asked to be careful when drinking water as they are at a greater risk of becoming ill from germs in dirty flood water. The public is asked to use bottled water or to either boil water fully for at least 1 minute or add 1/8 teaspoon (or 8 drops) of Clorox to each gallon of water to kill most types of germs that cause disease. The water should be stirred and left to sit for 30 minutes before drinking.

Viewers are advised that wells located in a flooded area, are assumed to have been contaminated. The water should be disinfected after the flood waters recede. For that you are asked to contact your local health center for specific advice on the safety of your well water.

As for food safety the public is asked not to eat any food that may have come into contact with flood water as floodwater may have sewage and other harmful germs and chemicals.

To prevent illness, those impacted by the flooded waters are asked to disinfect and dry buildings and household items as soon as the flood water recedes. This will prevent growth of some bacteria, viruses, mold, and mildew that can cause illness. If there has been a backflow of sewage into your house, wear rubber boots, waterproof gloves and Clorox during cleanup. Remove and throw away contaminated household items that cannot be disinfected.

MOH is also asking the public to use mosquito repellent, sleep under a mosquito net, and use long sleeve shirts and long pants to avoid being bitten by mosquito in order to prevent Dengue, Chikungunya and Malaria.

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