ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – Flood waters and standing water present several public health threats including infectious diseases, chemical hazards and injuries.

Because of the risks, sandbaggers and flood cleanup workers need to be sure they are wearing gloves, heavy duty boots and goggles. Also make sure you are washing your hands with soap and water and rinsing all of your clothing that could be contaminated with organisms in the water.

“You want to be up-to-date on your tetanus shot, especially if you’re working with debris material that could injure you. You could get cut or you could get punctured,” says SLU Care infectious diseases specialist Dr. Nirav Patel at SSM Health SLU Hospital. “Get a tetanus shot every 10 years, and if you don’t remember when you had one, you should probably just get another one.”

Make sure your water is clean and any contaminated food that has come into contact with dirty water should be thrown away. Dr. Patel also cautions to be aware of possible mold build-up in homes and businesses that may not be outwardly apparent, but could cause sickness if left untreated.

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