Health Dangers of Flooding

May 16, 2017

Contact with flood water may be unavoidable but we have to keep in mind that it can come with several health risks.   Flood water is an ideal breeding ground for bacteria and in the last week, at Memorial Village ER, we have seen many cases of these pathogens wreaking havoc in our community.  These are some of the health dangers of Flood water: 


Conjunctivitis and Otitis Media: (Treatment: Antibiotics) 

Conjunctivitis is an infection of the white areas of the eye. Symptoms include redness of the eye, increased tears, thick discharge over the eyelashes, burning and itchy eyes. It is caused by splashes of flood water into eyes or wiping eyes with dirty hands.

Otitis media: Is an infection of the inner chambers of the ear.  It is caused by flood water in the inner ear.  Symptoms include ear pain, dizziness, fever and/or drainage of fluid from the ear.

Gastroenteritis: (Treatment: anti-vomiting medications, antibiotics, rehydration) Gastroenteritis is an infection of the intestinal tract.  Contaminated water, food and poor hygiene practices can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fever and/or stomach pain.  Potential bacterial pathogens include E-coli, Clostridium Difficille and Shigella.

Cellulitis: (Treatment: Antibiotics)

Cellulitis is infection of the skin, usually an open wound.  It is hard to predict which bacteria will colonize any wound.  Open wounds, even small wounds, with exposure to flood water can become life or limb threatening.  Symptoms include skin swelling, tenderness, warmth, fever or skin dimpling.  It is important to identify and treat cellulitis early especially if the rash appears to be changing rapidly.

Hepatitis A: (Treatment: Rehydration)

Hepatitis is inflammation or swelling of the liver caused by ingestion of food or water contaminated with infected flood waters.  Symptoms include nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, jaundice and dark urine.

Zika and West Nile Virus  (Prevention is better than cure, please use insect repellants)

Mosquitos are capable of carrying and spreading diseases.  Most individuals who are infected with West Nile or Zika virus have minimal symptoms.  Some individuals will develop nonspecific symptoms such as headache, body aches, joint pains, vomiting, headache, fatigue.  Zika during pregnancy has been linked to serious birth defects


In the last week, thanks to Hurricane Harvey, costal water mixed with rain water and was dumped in our back doors.  At memorial village ER, located at the corner of dairy ashford and memorial, we are here to treat all your flood borne illness, as well as, all your emergency needs.  Feel free to visit our website at memorialvillageER.com.

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