What to do if you come in contact with contaminated floodwaters

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CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) — With the anticipated flooding this week, you can expect to come in contact with contaminated water.

“Floodwater will overrun a septic system in someone’s yard, so you should assume that all flood water has sewage in it,” said David Winowich, of the Kanawha-Charleston Health Department.

Dangerous bacteria and viruses can live in this water that can cause skin, stomach, and eye infections. In more serious cases, chest infections, hepatitis, and E. coli could happen.

“If you have to get in, do it cautiously. Protective clothing and make sure if you have a wound to clean it thoroughly when you’re finished, and make sure your tetanus booster shots are up to date,” said Winowich.

Medical professionals say to stay out of floodwaters, wear protective shoes, keep your kids from playing in it, and never ingest it.

“If you’re going to walk through the water, make sure you have shoes on, not sandals, not barefoot. You don’t know what is underneath there,” said Seth Petersen, Lt. Paramedic of Charleston Fire Department,

David Winowich of the Kanawha-Charleston Health Department also says floodwater contamination can be washed and dried out of clothing but can cause irreversible damage to your home.

“Once that floodwater gets inside there you can never clean it out,” said Winowich.

Medical professionals say they will be on high alert to watch for flood water contamination injuries.

“If they have any injuries, obviously we’ll treat them. Take them to the hospital if necessary, but it all depends on the situation,” said Peterson.

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