FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 26, 2005
CONTACT: Doc Kokol (850) 245-4111
**HURRICANE KATRINA INFORMATION SHEET **
Department of Health Warns of Risks After the Storm
Food safety: Preventing food-borne diseases
Department of Health advises that individuals should not
eat any food that may have come into contact with
contaminated water from floods or tidal surges.
Commercially prepared cans of food should not be eaten
if there is a bulging or opening on the can or the screw
caps, soda pop bottle tops or twist-caps.
commercially canned foods can be saved if you remove the
labels and then disinfect the cans in a bleach solution.
Use ¼ cup of bleach in one gallon of water; re-label the
cans including expiration date and type of food. Assume
that home-canned food is unsafe.
- Infants should be fed
only pre-mixed canned baby formula. Do not use powdered
formulas prepared with treated water. Use boiled water
when preparing formula.
- Frozen and refrigerated foods
can be unsafe after a hurricane. When the power is out,
refrigerators will keep foods cool for only about four
hours. Thawed and refrigerated foods should be thrown
out after four hours.
Sanitation and Hygiene: Preventing waterborne illness
- Basic hygiene is very important during this emergency
period. Always wash your hands with soap and water that
has been boiled or disinfected before eating, after
toilet use, after participating in cleanup activities
and after handling articles contaminated by floodwater
- Flooding that occurs after the hurricane
may mean that water contains fecal matter from sewage
systems, agricultural and industrial waste and septic
tanks. If you have open cuts or sores exposed to the
floodwater, keep them as clean as possible by washing
them with soap and disinfected or boiled water. Apply
antibiotic ointment to reduce the risk of infection. If
a wound or sore develops redness, swelling or drainage,
see a physician.
- Do not allow children to play in
floodwater. They can be exposed to water contaminated
with fecal matter. Do not allow children to play with
toys that have been in floodwater until the toys have
been disinfected. Use ¼ cup of bleach in one gallon of
water to disinfect toys and other items.
Power Outages: Preventing fire hazards
battery-powered lanterns and flashlights is preferable
to using candles.
- If you must use candles, make sure
you put them in safe holders away from curtains, paper,
wood, or other flammable items.
Clearing Standing Water: Preventing mosquito-borne
- Heavy rains and flooding can lead to an
increase in mosquitoes. Mosquitoes are most active at
sunrise and sunset. Public health authorities will be
working actively to control the spread of any diseases
transmitted by mosquitoes.
- To protect against
mosquitoes, DOH urges the public to remain diligent in
their personal mosquito protection efforts. These should
include the “5 D’s” for prevention:
- Dusk and Dawn –
Avoid being outdoors when mosquitoes are seeking blood.
For many species, this is during the dusk and dawn
- Dress – Wear clothing that covers most of your
- DEET – When the potential exists for exposure to
mosquitoes, repellents containing DEET (N,N-diethyl-meta-toluamide,
or N,N-diethyl-3-methylbenzamide) are recommended.
Picaridin and oil of lemon eucalyptus are other
- Drainage – Check around your home
to rid the area of standing water, which is where
mosquitoes can lay their eggs.
Tips on Repellent Use
- Always read label directions
carefully for the approved usage before applying a
repellent to skin. Some repellants are not suitable for
- Products with concentrations of up to 30
percent DEET are generally recommended. Other potential
mosquito repellents, as reported by the Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in April 2005,
contain picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus. These
products are generally available at local pharmacies.
Look for active ingredients to be listed on the product
- Apply insect repellent to exposed skin, or onto
clothing, but not under clothing.
- In protecting
children, read label instructions to be sure the
repellent is age-appropriate. According to the CDC,
mosquito repellents containing oil of lemon eucalyptus
should not be used on children under the age of 3 years. DEET is not recommended on children younger than 2
- Infants should be kept indoors or mosquito
netting should be used over carriers when mosquitoes are
- Avoid applying repellents to the hands of
children. Adults should apply repellent first to their
own hands and then transfer it to the child’s skin and
- If additional protection is necessary, apply
a permethrin repellent directly to your clothing. Again,
always follow the manufacturer’s directions.
Tips on Eliminating Mosquito Breeding
Elimination of breeding sites is one of the keys to
- Clean out eaves, troughs and gutters.
Remove old tires or drill holes in those used in
playgrounds to drain.
- Turn over or remove empty
- Pick up all beverage containers and
- Check tarps on boats or other equipment that may
- Pump out bilges on boats.
water in birdbaths and pet or other animal feeding
dishes at least once a week.
- Change water in plant
trays, including hanging plants, at least once a week.
Remove vegetation or obstructions in drainage ditches
that prevent the flow of water.
For further information, please contact your local
county health department or visit
The Florida Emergency Information Line:
Public Information Emergency Support
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