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Whitsunday Regional Council is advising residents that floodwater may pose a health risk, although outbreaks of disease following flooding are not common in Australia.
There is an increased risk of infection if people come into direct contact with polluted waters, including wound infections, dermatitis, conjunctivitis, and ear, nose and throat infections.
Floods may also increase the risk of diseases such as leptospirosis, melioidosis, dengue fever and diarrhoeal diseases.
“To minimise health risks, do not swim in floodwater and ensure that you and your children keep away from stormwater drains and creeks,” Mayor Andrew Willcox said.
“Avoid wading even in shallow water, as it may be contaminated. If you must enter shallow flood water, wear solid boots or shoes for protection.”
“If your house has been flooded, wear gloves and covered shoes when cleaning up, and treat any cuts immediately with antiseptic. Apply a protective dressing to the wound and see a doctor if injuries are serious.”
Mayor Andrew Willcox said people should avoid unnecessary contact with mud and dirt, especially when they were cleaning up.
“Always wash your hands with soap and water before handling food, and after handling pets that may have swum in contaminated water.”
Most deaths from flooding in Australia result from people attempting to drive, walk or swim through flood waters.
Just ten centimetres of water will reach the bottom of most passenger cars and may cause the loss of control and stalling of vehicles.
If floodwaters rise around your car, abandon the car and move to higher ground, if you can do so safely.
Drivers should continue to be vigilant around areas where floodwaters have receded - roads and bridges may have weakened and could collapse under the weight of a car.”
To minimise risk of injury:
• do not walk through moving floodwater• do not swim in floodwaters• always ensure that you and your children keep away from stormwater drains and creeks• do not drive into flooded areas.• be aware of the risk of electrocution by power lines that have fallen into floodwater.
To hear the latest up-to-date information and official advice, listen to your local radio stations and follow the Whitsunday Disaster & Emergency Facebook page here - https://www.facebook.com/WhitsundayDisasterandEmergencyInformation/
Important phone numbers:
If you have a life threatening emergency, please call 000 immediately.
If you require SES assistance, please call 132 500. The SES’s priority after the event will be providing access to residents (eg. Clearing trees from driveways etc.)
If you need to contact the Whitsunday Disaster Coordination Centre, please call 1300 972 006 and provide information as requested by the telephone operator.
Red Cross has now opened Register.Find.Reunite. and is urging people that may be affected by Cyclone Debbie to get in touch with their families and friends. Please visit www.redcross.org.au to register, or look for someone.