Health Risks from Floodwater Damage in Florida

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Flooding events aren’t new to Floridians, considering that the state is vulnerable to hurricanes and storms due to its location. However, no matter how prepared one can get, flooding can still affect people and properties, the damages of which often range from minor to severe.

Damage to property isn’t the only problem that needs immediate attention, however. Floods can bring biological pathogens, fecal matter, mold spores, and rotting animal flesh with them. It is therefore important to get water or flood damage fixed immediately to avoid potential threats, such as those that concern health. ServiceMaster by Wright discusses the health risks associated with floodwater damage in this article.

What is Flood Damage?

Flood Damage

According to ScienceDirectflood damage “is defined as all the varieties of harm provoked by flooding. It includes all detrimental effects on people, their health, and properties; on public and private infrastructure, ecological systems, cultural heritage, and economic activities.”

Flood damage occurs at different levels. It could stem from simple causes, like broken dishwashers or leaking pipes, or heavy rains. Flood damage can leave your home wet and your structures weakened at best, and unsanitary and unlivable at worst. The moisture can also result to other problems arising, such as mold growth.

Why Shouldn’t I Delay Flood Damage Removal and Repair?

Flooded Home with Old PhotoWhen dealing with flood damage, speed is the key. Some people may opt to delay flood damage repair only to discover that it has gone worse.

For the first few hours after flooding, your home can incur cosmetic damages, such as stains on your upholstery or carpets. Floodwaters can also affect your electrical systems and appliances.

The next 12 to 24 hours are crucial because if flood damage still isn’t dealt with during this time, permanent damages can occur. Also, as mentioned before, there are heightened health risks due to pathogens and waste that the floodwaters may have brought.

Finally, mold can grow in the next 24 to 48 hours. This poses an additional health risk, especially if people with allergies or asthma are exposed to increased mold spores.

The various health risks and dangers from floodwaters and flood water damage are further discussed below. To prevent these concerns, a professional water damage restoration company in Sarasota, like ServiceMaster by Wright, should be called to assess and repair the damage. Professionals are trained, experienced, and have the right equipment to deal with flood damage in the proper way.

Health Risks and Other Dangers from Floodwaters

Electric Shock

Electric Wires and Post
Photo by GDJ (via Pixabay)

If you come into contact with floodwaters where downed power lines are submerged, you may be exposed to an electric shock that can cause severe injuries. Flooded buildings with electrical equipment or outlets below the waterline can also put you at risk.

If you see any fallen power lines, report them to the electric company immediately and always steer clear of them. Before entering any flood-damaged building, make sure that the main power is shut off to ensure you don’t get shocked.

Infectious Diseases from Open Wounds

Wounds in the HandIf you’re treading in floodwater and have any open cuts or sores, you could be exposed to harmful viruses, infections, and diseases from contaminated water.

Be sure to properly treat any open wound and wear the right protective gear if you need to wade through floodwaters.

Injuries from Sharp Objects

Sharp Wire
Photo from Pixabay.

Harmful objects can be hidden from view, especially in deep or murky floodwaters. Sharp items like nails, broken glass, bits of metal and other unsafe materials can lead to severe injuries and infections.

Avoid walking through floodwaters if you can. Otherwise, be sure to wear protective shoes and pants before moving through the water.

Weakened Infrastructures

Residential Area Water DamageFlooding can cause weakened and unstable infrastructures. Wood structural supports may appear fine at the moment, but without proper air circulation and drying, the moisture will remain and cause rot to weaken the structure.

All foundations and load-bearing walls must be exposed and properly inspected and repaired before anyone can live in the home. If you are stuck inside your home, leave right away if you hear shifting noises or other unfamiliar sounds. These noises could mean that parts of your home are preparing to collapse.

Without proper structural drying and repair, you may be putting your safety at risk. Keep your home livable and sturdy by dealing with flood damage as soon as it happens. If you notice that some structural elements in your property are severely damaged, you should call Sarasota water damage repair services. Experts know when reconstruction may be necessary.

Chemical Poisoning

Floodwaters are likely to be contaminated by oil, gas leaks, pesticides, and other toxic materials. If you come into contact with these waters, you may experience signs of chemical poisoning, including:

Poison Symbol
Photo from Pixabay.

As always, avoid moving through floodwaters whenever possible, especially in areas that are known to contain toxic chemicals.

Bacterial Infection from Fecal Matter

Fecal bacteria from humans and animals seep into flood waters. If you ingest or come into contact with this kind of organic waste, you can experience the following illnesses:

Microscopic View of E. Coli
E. coli. Photo by geralt (via Pixabay).

If the flood came from a potentially harmful source, it’s no good to perform water extraction and removal on your own. Call an IICRC-certified firm.

Danger of Bug Infestations and Displaced Wildlife

Animal in the Wild
Photo by pixel2013 (via Pixabay).

Standing water can house bugs, which are possible vectors of sickness; it is, therefore, vital to perform water extraction in Sarasota as early as possible.

Animals are under high stress during natural disasters. Along with house pets like dogs, cats and horses, floodwaters can displace wildlife that may attack you due to the strange and stressful conditions.

Be cautious around areas that have high amounts of wildlife, such as alligators, snakes, and even floating fire ants. Since Florida is rich in wildlife, better be careful.

Mold Growth

Black Molds

Mold can grow in as little as 24 hours, which may cause allergic reactions. Proper drying and dehumidification are required after the water has been extracted to help mold prevention.

Fire Risks

Fire Damage Inside the House

There can be risks for fire-related damages after a flood or water damage incident. Secure your flammable items beforehand to prevent this from happening.

How to Deal with Flood Damage in Florida

The aftermath of flooding, just like any disaster, can be overwhelming and devastating for any homeowner. With the damages done, people may opt to deal with multiple property damages on their own to prevent repair costs, but sadly this can result to even greater expenses in the long run. Flood damage isn’t simple, which is why there are trained technicians like the ones at ServiceMaster by Wright who specialize in repairing it.

Get Life Back to Normal after a Flood with ServiceMaster by Wright

ServiceMaster by Wright, grout cleaning Siesta Key

The full impact of a flood isn’t over until your community and property has been restored. Find out what you can do after a hurricane to ensure you stay completely safe during this trying time. When it’s time to get your community back to normal, count on the experts at ServiceMaster by Wright for flood cleanup and repair, and the expert guidance you need to make it from crisis through to resolution.

With the proper tools and years of expertise in the restoration industry and real experience helping countless communities rebuild after a flood, we have what it takes to help. Contact ServiceMaster by Wright today to find out how our qualified commercial and residential services can help you in the aftermath of a flood. We will work with your insurance provider during the entire water damage restoration process.

ServiceMaster by Wright services Bonita SpringsBradentonCape CoralEnglewoodFort MyersLongboat KeyNaplesMarco IslandSarasotaSiesta Key, and Venice. Call 239-431-9947.