Are there health concerns after flood damage?
The degree of caution about adverse health effects from flood damage depends particularly on the type of water contamination and the passage of time from the flood.
Flood water can be either ‘white’, ‘grey’ or ‘black’ water. White water is uncontaminated at the time of flood. Grey water is wastewater typically generated from domestic activities such as laundry, showers, dishwashing etc. Blackwater contains human waste.
Flood water therefore is often contaminated and, even if it appears ‘clean’ may include elements that can cause a range of illness. Personal hygiene, including washing hands and covering cuts or scratches, is very important. Always wash hands before preparing food, eating, drinking or smoking.
Within a few days mould can form, due to the damp environment and this can affect the throat, nasal passages and lungs. Young children, the elderly and those with immune system deficiency should be kept away from properties that have been flooded until they have been passed safe for habitation. Medical advice should be sought immediately if any health concerns are identified.