May 04 2017

Saint Louis County Executive Steve Stenger and the County Department of Public Health Warn Residents that Flood Waters Can Pose Serious Health Risks

Saint Louis County Executive Steve Stenger and the County Department of Public Health are reminding residents that flood waters can contain raw sewage or other dangers and should be considered a threat to public health. Both are urging caution because of the current and potential flooding in the St. Louis area.

“These heavy rains have caused extensive damage to homes and businesses in Missouri and Illinois,” County Executive Steve Stenger said. “I urge all residents to use extreme caution during this dangerous time.”

Flood waters and standing water can pose various risks, including infectious diseases, chemical hazards, and injuries from hidden objects. Eating or drinking anything contaminated by flood water can lead to diarrheal illness.

To protect yourself, your family, and others in the neighborhood, the department is strongly urging everyone to heed the following precautions:
 Do not allow children or pets to play in flood waters or areas that have recently been flooded.
 Do not allow children or pets to play with toys that have been contaminated by flood water until after the toys have been disinfected.
 Check regularly on outdoor pets to make sure their area is free of flood water and to ensure that all pets have adequate shelter from inclement weather.
 Avoid wild animals that have been displaced by flood waters and remind children never to approach a wild animal.
 Check on elderly and homebound neighbors and relatives to make sure they are safe and aware of the dangers posed by flooding.
 Practice good hygiene (hand washing) after any contact with flood waters or items that have been in flood water.
 Wash children's hands frequently (especially before meals).
 Do not drive through flooded roadways and always pay attention to warning signs.
 If you become wet, seek warmth and change into dry clothes as soon as possible. Although temperatures are currently above freezing, they are low enough to pose the risk of hypothermia.
 When cleaning up basements or other flood-affected areas, wear waterproof boots and gloves. Avoid ingestion of any flood water. Use bleach to disinfect and sanitize affected areas and use standard precautions while using bleach (avoid skin contact, inhalation, or ingestion).

For up-to-date information about road closures in St. Louis County, please visit:

For more information about flood water safety and cleanup, please visit the following CDC website:

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