MS Dept. of Health Issues “Isaac: What You Need To Know” Clean-up Tips
The Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH) continues to monitor the health impacts of Hurricane Isaac.
Significant power outages, home repairs, and the receding floodwaters can create dangerous and potentially
Mississippi residents should take the following precautions:
• When cleaning up storm-damaged areas, be sure to wear protective clothing and sturdy shoes to prevent cuts and scratches from
debris. Do not let children play in floodwater, and discard any items that come into contact with floodwater.
• Any food (including food in plastic or glass) medicines, cosmetics or bottled water that has come in contact with floodwater should
be discarded. If in doubt, throw it out. Intact cans may be thoroughly disinfected with one-quarter cup of bleach to one gallon of
water, and then used.
Around Your Home
• When cleaning up debris around your home, be sure ladders are secure before climbing on them to clean the roof and gutters.
If you plan to use a chainsaw to clear debris, be sure to operate the machine according to the instructions. If injury occurs, call
9-1-1 or seek immediate medical help.
• Flooding can cause mold to grow inside your home, which can cause allergic reactions, asthma episodes, infections, and other
respiratory problems. The MSDH does not handle mold removal or abatement. You will need to call a private contractor for
• Stay out of floodwater.
• Floodwater may be contaminated by sewage systems, agricultural and industrial waste, and septic tanks. If you have open cuts or sores
exposed to floodwater, keep them as clean as possible by washing with soap and clean 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 raw sewage. Do not allow children to
play with toys that have been in floodwater until the toys have been disinfected. Use one-quarter cup of bleach to one gallon of water.
• Tetanus vaccination is recommended if it’s been 10 years or more since your last tetanus vaccination (Tdap is the recommended
• In the event of a puncture wound or wound contaminated with floodwater, individuals should consult a healthcare provider.
• Tetanus vaccinations are available at all county health departments.
Disinfecting Private Water Wells
• Homeowners impacted by the recent flood who do not receive their water supply from a public water system regulated
by the MSDH should have their private well inspected, disinfected and sampled in order to protect their health.
• For step-by-step instructions on disinfecting your private water well, visit the MSDH website at www.HealthyMS.com.
Mosquitoes and Insects
• Once the flood water recedes, remove all sources of standing water in and around your property, including bird baths, wading
pools, ceramic pots, etc.
• Avoid places and times when mosquito activity is at its peak – evenings and mornings have the most activity.
• Protect yourself with long, light-colored clothing or use insect repellent containing DEET or any other EPA approved repellent
for human use.
If you come in contact with a snake during cleanup efforts, do not attempt to catch or kill the snake. Slowly back away
from the snake. If you are bitten by a snake:
• Do not attempt to cut, suck, or apply ice to the bite area.
• Do not apply a tourniquet.
• Call 911 immediately. Lay the person flat and keep the bitten part of the body at the level of the rest of the body.
Do not elevate or dangle a bitten arm or leg.
• Should it be needed, there is plenty of antivenin available throughout the state.