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Children And Flooding Part 4 – Other Topics

Today we bring to a close our series on flooding and its effects on our children by looking at items and scenarios that didn’t fit with any of the other blog entries.  In the end, it is important to remember that most any threat presented by flooding or water damage is increased when children are thrown into the mix. This is due in large part to their still developing immune systems, the size of those systems, and their physical inability to navigate safely through flooding situations.

Kitchenware and cooking/eating utensils that are thoroughly washed and dried may be sanitized and saved. It is important to follow local public health guidance on the most effective sanitation procedures and methods. Wood items will need to be thrown out, since they can absorb contaminants as well as grow mold as a result of exposure to flood water.  Wood items cannot be adequately sanitized.

Children’s toys and baby items should be thrown out if they are absorbent because a) they cannot be completely sanitized and b) they may pose a serious threat to your child. All baby bottles, nipples, and pacifiers that have been exposed to flood waters should be thrown away.

What about teenagers? Have they reached the point of maturity that allows them to handle the flooding threat?  When it comes to post flood cleanup and repair, it is usually advisable to send your teenagers elsewhere. They are still growing and developing, and their reproductive, nervous, and immune systems may still be vulnerable to adverse effects that are the natural result of exposure to contaminants.  Teens are also more likely to underestimate the danger present in certain situations and less likely to voice any concerns they may have. Keep them away from contaminated water, mold, and hazardous materials.

Older adults and those living with chronic diseases may be at risk for the development of micro-organisms and the release of dangerous chemicals in the air and water.

Many people use bleach for cleanup purposes. Bleach contains chlorine, which is a very corrosive material that may be harmful if swallowed.  In fact, bleach ingestion is one of the most common cases with children.  Call Poison Control (800) 222-1212 immediately if poisoning does occur.

Floods also leave behind dirty and debris filled areas. Children should be kept out of any damaged area due to the risk of exposure to hazardous chemicals such as lead, asbestos, oil, or gasoline. Children can be exposed by direct skin contact, breathing in fumes or particles, or by putting their hands in their mouths.

Flood waters also increase the numbers of disease carrying pests, such as mosquitoes, so be sure to douse your child with enough insect repellent to keep them at bay.  You can also protect them by having them stay inside when the sun is down, wearing long sleeves and pants, and covering baby carriages and playpens with mosquito netting. You should also empty flower pots and other containers of any standing water.

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