In flood's wake: How to keep yourself, your pets healthy

Updated 7/18/2017 7:45 PM

To stay healthy:• If you get a cut while in contact with contaminated floodwater, see a doctor and get a tetanus shot if it's been more than five years. • Wash hands frequently, have children do the same.

• Powerless refrigerators will keep foods cold for about 4 hours; a full freezer -- 2 days. When it doubt, throw it out.


Cleaning up:• Wear rubber boots, rubber gloves, and goggles.

• Dispose of items that cannot be washed and disinfected, such as bedding, carpeting, upholstered furniture, cosmetics, stuffed animals, baby toys, foam-rubber items, books, wall coverings, and most paper products.

• Discard contaminated drywall and insulation.

• Clean all hard surfaces, such as flooring, concrete, molding, wood and metal furniture, countertops, appliances and sinks, with hot water and detergent.

• Help the drying process with fans, air conditioning units and dehumidifiers.

• People who shouldn't shovel snow shouldn't lug wet carpeting and other heavy items to the curb.

Pet care:• Call your emergency destination ahead of time. Shelters for human flood victims often don't allow animals, but motels may accept them in an emergency.

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• Never leave your animals outdoors, tied up or confined; they'll be trapped and unable to flee rising waters.

• In evacuations, never leave your animals behind; they aren't equipped to survive disasters.

• Never leave animals in a car -- they can suffer from heatstroke once ambient temperatures exceed 70 degrees.

• Place small animals in secure carriers, keep dogs leashed. Frightening sounds and unfamiliar surroundings may make them bolt. Take water and food bowls, your animals' favorite toy or blanket, a towel, and enough food to last at least a week.

• If you see animals left behind and in distress, note their condition and location and call authorities for help as soon as possible.

Sources: Kane County Health Department, PETA, Daily Herald interviews.

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