RESIDENTS in Dorset are being advised to take simple measures to protect their health following the weekend’s severe storms.

Although the worst of the weather seems to have passed, there is still a risk posed by flood water, power failures and clean-up work.

Public Health Dorset is advising people to take simple, sensible steps to look after themselves and their loved ones.

Director David Phillips said: “We want to make sure the public know about possible health risks that may arise from the recent flooding and what to look out for. People can stay healthy by taking sensible precautions when coming into contact with flood water in and around their homes.

“The risks from these events can not only be physical but also mental.”

Advice includes:

  • Try to get some rest when cleaning up. Tiredness, difficulty sleeping and anxiety are all normal in these circumstances and will pass in time.
  • Take care when cleaning up around and in your home in the event of flooding.
  • Usually any harmful bugs in floodwater become very diluted and there is a low risk of infection, as long as sensible precautions are taken.
  • If you have to go into the water, wear waterproof gloves and rubber boots and be careful of cutting yourself on hidden hazards such as sharp objects that may have been left lying around or that have shifted due to the floods.
  • wash your hands regularly and often – if the water supply is off use antiseptic gel.
  • make sure any cuts are cleaned immediately using an antiseptic. Covers existing cuts with a waterproof plaster.
  • Do not eat any food that has been in contact with floodwater or sewage – either food you grow yourself or food you have bought.
  • Also, be very careful with using petrol or diesel generators indoors. The exhaust gases contain carbon monoxide which can quickly build up to poisonous levels, so keep all doors and windows open if you are using a generator.

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