Health risks when cleaning up flood home damage

TULARE COUNTY, Calif. - Cleanup is still underway for those hit by the Kings River Flooding this past week. As evacuation orders are lifted and people are allowed back into their homes, the Tulare County Human Health Services Agency (HHSA) reminds residents of health risks to keep in mind.

Remants of the flooding at Kings River Golf and Country Club could still be seen Wednesday, with little pools of water still on the green.

A little south, though, at the home of the Shows family, only lines around their storage shed demonstrates how flooded their property got.

The flooding didn't reach their house, but it did flood where their well and septic tank is. The shows quickly had professionals come out to check things.

"[They] came by and poured some chlorine down in [the well] for us. We also had the pool cleaned out and a lot of extra chlorine poured into the pool," said Stan Shows.

Nilsa Gonzalez, environmental health director at HHSA, said the agency examined the floodwater and haven't found anything too problematic. If anything, there are minor things homeowners will need to look into.

"Overall, the assessments are looking well," said Gonzalez.

Despite that, she advises wearing rubber gloves and boots when touching flooded belongings. Also, after doing so, to wash your hands with warm water and soap.

Mold can set in fast in walls, carpets and even furniture. Gonzalez advises to remove or dry out quicky.

"There's always respiratory concerns with molding," she said. "If you are concerned with anything like that, or if you've been exposed, it's always a good idea to see your primary care physician."

Not everything that gets wet in floods is saveable. If contaminated with sewage water, things like: mattresses, carpeting, carpet padding, rugs, upholstered furniture, cosmetics, stuffed animals, baby toys, pillow, foam-rubber items, books, wall coverings and most paper products are things to get rid of fast.

For more information on flood cleanup tips, including how to handle things like appliances, check out this list created by the HHSA here.


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