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Maintaining health during flooding

21 Mar 2021


Residents in the Nepean and Hawkesbury regions are reminded to stay cautious as flood levels and rainfall continue to affect the region.

In addition to damage caused by fast moving water, floodwaters can also carry a range of viruses, bacteria and parasites.

Nepean Blue Mountains Local Health District Director of Public Health, Dr Victor Carey says while the risk of infection from floodwater is generally low, residents still need to be cautious.

“Floodwaters may be contaminated with sewage or other chemicals that have spilled during rising water, while loose debris and fast moving water can cause serious injury,” says Dr Carey.

“Cuts from broken glass or debris can be affected by germs in the water. Clean cuts and abrasions thoroughly and cover them well to ensure they are protected. Consider getting a tetanus booster to prevent infection and wash your hands thoroughly after contact with floodwater. If you are concerned about possible infection to a wound, always seek medical advice,” says Dr Carey.

Food and refrigerated medication may be affected if power outages have occurred as a result of flooding.

“If electricity has been off for more than four hours, your food and refrigerated medicines may need to be discarded,” says Dr Carey.

“Temperature sensitive medicines deteriorate and lose effectiveness if they’re not stored properly. Replace them with a new supply as soon as possible, and discard any food that has spoiled or come in to contact with floodwater,” says Dr Carey.

If you need emergency assistance in a flood or storm, call the State Emergency Service (SES) on 132 500 or visit the SES website for information.

Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) has information about road closures due to floods. Ring 132 701 for the 24 hour traffic enquiry line.

For a medical, police or fire emergency call Triple Zero (000).