Paul Florian - Environmental Health manager / Queensland Health warns people to protect themselves during the post-flood clean-up. Photo Sharyn O'Neill / The Morning Bulletin
Paul Florian - Environmental Health manager / Queensland Health warns people to protect themselves during the post-flood clean-up. Photo Sharyn O'Neill / The Morning Bulletin Sharyn O'Neill ROK310113sflood1

Health caution for all Rockhampton flood clean-up teams

FIRST came Cyclone Oswald, then came the rain and floods, next will come the clean-up.

But environmental health director Paul Florian from Queensland Health is warning of health issues facing those already facing heartache from flood damage.

And the list includes food safety, sun protection, drinking lots of water and wearing protective clothing while the clean-up continues.

"We need to make sure all of these things are being done."

With an outbreak of leptospirosis after the last flood, Mr Florian said people need to be especially mindful of safety around floodwater, including wearing closed in shoes, long sleeved shirts and pants, and gloves.

"It is all about taking care of yourself, your friends and fellow workers.

When it comes to the cleaning, Mr Florian advised to wash all items and remove the silt and mud, and ensure it was dried well.

For those items that can't be properly cleaned and dried, the only option may be to discard them.

"Drying helps break the lifecycle of bacteria."

See here for information relating to mould in homes as a result of excessive moisture.

How to stay safe

  • Avoid direct contact with mud, dirt and floodwater, which may be contaminated by sewage and debris.
  • Wear boots, gloves and eye protection when cleaning up. Wear clothes that are easily cleaned or that can be thrown away.
  • Wear sunscreen, a hat, sunglasses and mosquito repellent.
  • Drink plenty of water.
  • Wash hands thoroughly after cleaning up, before eating or smoking, and after going to the toilet.
  • If you get a cut or abrasion, clean the wound with clean water, apply an antiseptic and cover with a dressing. See a doctor if the wound becomes severe, angry or red, or if it is a deep cut.
  • Shower thoroughly with soap at the end of the day.
  • Food preparation areas and items like pots and pans should be washed, dried and sanitised
  • Throw out food that has come in contact with floodwater.
  • Tinned food can be kept for use as long as the tin is not opened, bulging or damaged. Wash the tin and sanitise it in a bleach solution.
  • Medicines that have had contact with floodwater should be thrown out.


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