Staying Healthy After the Hurricane
The storm may be over, but recovery is just beginning. Hurricane Ian devastated parts of Southwest and Central Florida, leaving many health dangers in its wake.
Here are some post-hurricane health and safety tips for you and your family:
Stay Out of Floodwater
Floodwater contains many things that can harm your health, including chemicals, dead animals, human waste, animal waste, and other germ-filled contaminants. Sharp objects like glass or metal fragments can also injure you.
If you have to be in or near floodwater, always wear a life jacket. Be sure to wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water or use an alcohol-based sanitizer afterward.
Never drive in flooded areas, as cars or other vehicles can be swept away or stall in moving water.
Don’t Touch or Use Wet Electronics
We understand how eager you might be to use your phone, laptop, or other devices. If an electrical appliance or device was plugged in during the storm and appears to be wet, don’t touch it or turn it on. You could get electrocuted.
Turn off the power at the main breaker in your house if the device is still plugged in, and don’t use it until you have it checked by an experienced electrician.
Use Flashlights Instead of Candles
Is your power still out? Use battery-powered flashlights instead of candles, which can be a fire hazard. If you must use candles, be sure to keep a close eye on them and have a fire extinguisher nearby.
Prevent Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
Many Floridians are still relying on generators to power their homes. Portable gasoline or coal-burning equipment like generators, pressure washers, camp stoves, and charcoal grills all create carbon monoxide—a colorless, odorless gas that can kill you.
Never use this type of equipment inside your home, garage, or basement. Keep it outside and at least 20 feet from any door, window, or vent. You can use an extension cord to keep the equipment at a safe distance.
For extra safety, install a battery-operated carbon monoxide detector in your home. If it starts beeping, leave your home immediately and call 911.
Use Caution Near Damaged Homes and Buildings
Do not enter a damaged home or building until local authorities confirm that it is safe. If you hear shifting or unusual noises while inside, get out quickly—the structure could be about to fall.
Avoid Power Lines
A downed or hanging power line can electrocute you. Stay clear of all power lines, and warn children to stay clear of them as well.
Protect Yourself from Animals and Insects
Large amounts of standing water after a hurricane are the perfect breeding ground for mosquitos and other insects. To prevent insect bites, use an insect repellant that contains DEET or picaridin for extra protection.
Bites from spiders, reptiles, wild animals, and even displaced household pets can also occur. If you encounter a wild or stray animal—dead or alive—do not touch it and move away quickly.
Your local MD Now urgent care clinic can treat insect bites, animal bites, bee stings, allergic reactions, and more.
Only Drink Safe Water
Follow advice from local officials for water precautions in your home. If your tap water tastes or smells odd, it may be contaminated. Do not use this water to make ice, prepare or cook foods (including baby formula), wash dishes, wash your hands, or brush your teeth.
Bottled, boiled, or treated water is safe for drinking, cooking, and personal hygiene until clean water is restored.
Take Care of Wounds or Injuries to Prevent Infection
The risk for injuries after a hurricane is high, especially during cleanup. Even small wounds can turn into life-threatening infections without proper treatment.
Walk into any MD Now location for prompt, professional care if you have cuts, scrapes, abrasions, burns, bruises, contusions, or other types of wounds. MD Now also treats sprains, strains, dislocations, broken bones, and more, with digital X-rays and minor surgical procedures provided on-site for your convenience.
Don’t Neglect Your Emotional Health
Your emotional health deserves as much attention as your physical health. After a hurricane, it’s natural to experience strong emotions, especially if you’re facing major personal losses. Anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are also common.
Coping with your feelings and seeking help when you need it are both key to your emotional recovery. Connect with your family, friends, and others in your community, so you can get through this together.
Count on MD Now for High-Quality Healthcare After the Hurricane
Florida, we’re here when you need us. MD Now urgent care clinics offer convenient hours and are staffed by a physician-led team of healthcare professionals ready to help you. No appointment is necessary—just walk in! For up to date hours of operation at the clinic nearest you, visit our website.