Ministry of Well being calls on residents after Hurricane Ida. on to take precautionary measures
JACKSON, miss. – The Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH) continues to monitor the progress of Hurricane Ida. Significant power outages, home repairs, and flooding can create dangerous and potentially life-threatening situations.
MSDH residents should take the following precautions:
Food and water safety
If your power goes out, there are several food and water safety tips to keep in mind to ensure that what you eat and drink is safe for consumption:
- If the power goes out for less than two hours, food is safe to eat in your refrigerator and freezer. Keep the refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible to keep food cold longer.
- After two hours, a half-full freezer will keep food safe for up to 24 hours. A full freezer will keep food safe for 48 hours.
- After two hours, pack milk, other dairy products, meat, fish, eggs, sauce and perishable leftovers in a cooler surrounded by ice. Inexpensive styrofoam coolers are suitable for this.
- Safe water for drinking, cooking, and personal hygiene includes bottled, boiled, or purified water. Look out for specific boiling water warnings in your area.
- Do not use contaminated water for washing dishes, brushing teeth, washing and preparing food, washing hands, making ice cream, or baby food. If possible, use baby food that does not need to be added with water.
- Boiling water is the preferred way to kill harmful bacteria and parasites. Bringing water to a boil for 1 minute will kill most of the organisms.
MSDH recommends the following precautions to prevent potentially fatal carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning. Do not burn charcoal or gas grills in a house, garage, vehicle, tent, or fireplace. Do not use gas-powered generators or high-pressure cleaners in closed rooms, not even indoors or in the garage. If you suspect that you are experiencing symptoms of CO poisoning, such as dizziness, headache, or shortness of breath, open doors and windows, turn off gas appliances, and go outside. For severe CO poisoning, call 911 or the Mississippi Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222.
When cleaning storm-damaged areas, it is essential to wear protective clothing and sturdy shoes to avoid cuts and scratches from dirt. Do not let children play in flood and dispose of all objects that come into contact with flood.
All food (including food in plastic or glass), medication, cosmetics, or bottled water that has been exposed to flooding should be discarded. If in doubt, throw it away. Intact cans can be thoroughly sanitized with a quarter cup of bleach to a gallon of water and then used.
Around your home
When removing dirt in your home, make sure the ladders are secure before climbing on to clean the roof and gutters. If you plan to use a chainsaw to remove debris, make sure the machine is operating according to the instructions. If an injury occurs, call 9-1-1 or get medical help right away.
Flooding can cause mold to grow in your home, which can cause allergic reactions, asthma attacks, infections, and other respiratory problems. MSDH does not remove or combat mold. You’ll need to call a private contractor for further assistance.
A tetanus vaccination is recommended if your last tetanus vaccination was 10 years or more ago (Tdap is the recommended vaccination). In the event of a stab wound or a wound contaminated by flood, people should seek medical attention.
Disinfection of private water wells
Flood-affected homeowners who do not get their water supply from a public water system regulated by the MSDH should have their private wells inspected, disinfected and sampled to protect their health. For step-by-step instructions on how to disinfect your private well, visit the MSDH website at HealthyMS.com/wells.
Vibrio vulnificus bacteria naturally live in certain coastal waters and are found in higher concentrations between May and October when water temperatures are warmer.
Vibrio bacteria naturally live in certain coastal waters and are present in higher concentrations between May and October when the water temperatures are warmer.
Vibrio vulnificus can cause life-threatening wound infections. Many people with Vibrio vulnificus infection need intensive care or limb amputation, and about 1 in 5 people with this infection will die, sometimes within a day or two of becoming ill
Anyone can get Vibrio wound infection, but some people are more likely to get an infection and have serious complications:
- Have liver disease, cancer, diabetes, HIV, or thalassemia
- Receive immunosuppressive therapy to treat illness
- Take medication to lower stomach acid levels
- Recently had stomach surgery
- People at higher risk of infections and serious complications from Vibrio bacteria should Avoid wading or standing in brackish or salt water.
How can I prevent Vibrio wound infection if I have a wound?
You can reduce the risk of Vibrio wound infection by following these tips:
- If you have a wound (including a recent surgery, piercing, or tattoo) avoid salt or brackish water, if possible.
- Cover your wound with a waterproof bandage if it could come into contact with salt or brackish water. This can happen when a hurricane or storm surge causes flooding.
- Wash wounds and cuts thoroughly with soap and water after coming in contact with salt water, brackish water, raw seafood, or their juices.
See a doctor right away if you develop signs and symptoms of Vibrio infection, which could include:
- Watery diarrhea, often accompanied by stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting, and fever
- For bloodstream infections: fever, chills, dangerously low blood pressure and blistering skin lesions
- For wound infections that can spread to the rest of the body: fever, redness, pain, swelling, warmth, discoloration and discharge (leakage of fluid).
Floods can cause mosquitoes to over reproduce, creating the potential for diseases such as the West Nile virus to be transmitted by the insects.
The protective measures include:
- Wear long sleeved, leggy clothing with socks and shoes outdoors when possible;
- Use mosquito repellant with DEET; follow the directions on the label; Products with up to 35 percent DEET provide adequate protection under most conditions;
- In children, use a repellent with a concentration of 10% or less DEET as recommended by the Academy of Pediatrics; follow the directions on the label;
- When outdoors, use a mosquito repellent with an EPA registered ingredient such as DEET. and
- Avoid mosquitos whenever possible; Stay indoors or take personal protective measures, especially between dusk and dawn.
For more information on safety after a storm, visit HealthyMS.com/afterstorm.
Follow MSDH on email and social media at HealthyMS.com/connect.
Press contact: MSDH Office of Communications, (601) 576-7667
Note to the media: Outside business hours or in an emergency, call (601) 576-7400. at
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