Last updated on February 24th, 2022 at 10:51 am
Be aware of flood hazards no matter where you live, but especially if you live in a low-lying area, near water or downstream from a dam. Floodwater can be contaminated by pollutants including sewage, human and animal feces, pesticides and insecticides, fertilizers, oil, asbestos, rusting building materials, and more. While most public attention is focused on property loss caused by floods, protecting your own health is more important. Although there are no guarantees of safety during a flood, you can take actions to protect yourself.
Mold is part of the natural environment. Higher concentrations of mold and bacteria can be found after a flood. This causes the production of Microbial Volatile Organic Compounds (mVOCs), which emit chemical like odors and can become noxious respiratory irritants. Learn more about respiratory health best practices from AgriSafe.
If a chemical, pesticide or hazardous waste spill occurs, chemicals might be released from barns, homes, and other sources into the environment. Chemical spills could release vapors or chemical fumes. Learn more about chemical safety from AgriSafe.
Floods can potentially increase the transmission of communicable diseases: Water-Borne (Hepatitis A); Vector-Borne (West Nile Virus); Bacterial (Tetanus) spores and Fungal (Histoplasmosis) spores found in dust, dirt, animal droppings and animal carcass.
Water may not be safe to drink, cook or clean with after a flood. Water can become contaminated with microorganisms such as bacteria, sewage, heating oil, agricultural or industrial waste, chemicals and other substances that can cause serious illness.
Heat Related Illnesses
Disaster recovery is physically strenuous, especially in hot temperatures. Intense heat exposure can cause Heat Related Illnesses. Signs include excessive thirst, weakness, headache, loss of consciousness, nausea and vomiting, muscle cramps, and dizziness.
After a natural disaster, you’re dealing with the extra stress of current conditions, along with the daily stress of farm and ranch operations. Natural disasters such as floods create a tremendous amount of additional stress and anxiety. You may develop major depression, generalized anxiety, and posttraumatic stress disorder. Learn more about mental health from AgriSafe.
- Entering and Cleaning Up Flooded Homes: Protect Yourself and Your Family During Cleanup
- Farm Flood Health Threats: Risk Factors During Recovery
- Farm Flood Health Threats: Risk Factors During Winter Recovery
- Flood Recovery Checklists for Farmsteads
- Interim Guidance for Protecting Workers from Livestock and Poultry Wastewater and Sludge During and After Floods
- Pesticide Storage Concerns During and After a Flood
Page updated: July 2021