Health Concerns From Recent Flooding

Jasper (Local Sources) – With widespread flooding in Dubois County from this past weekend’s storms, the Dubois County Health Department is informing citizens affected by the storms, that flooding is a health concern, according to director Donna Oeding.

Oeding says steps should be followed to insure people are safe from flood damage.


  • Do not eat any food that may have come in contact with flood water.
  • Discard any food that is not in a waterproof container.
    • Containers with screw-caps, snap-lids, pull tops, crimped caps, and cardboard are NOT
  • Inspect canned foods and discard any damaged cans.
    • Damage is shown by swelling, leaking, punctures, holes, fractures, rusting, and/or crushing that would prevent normal stacking or opening.
  • Undamaged, commercially prepared foods in all-metal cans can be saved if you:
    • Remove labels, if you can, since they can harbor dirt and bacteria.
    • Thoroughly wash the cans with soap and hot safe drinking water.
    • Brush away any dirt or silt.
    • Rinse the cans with safe drinking water.
    • Sanitize cans in sanitizing solution for 15 minutes.
      • One (1) tablespoon of bleach per gallon of safe drinking water
    • Air dry cans
    • Relabel with name and expiration date, use ASAP.
  • Thoroughly wash pans, dishes, and utensils with soap and hot safe water. Rinse and sanitize pans, dishes, and utensils.
  • Thoroughly wash, rinse, and sanitize, all surfaces. Wash with soap and water. Rinse with safe drinking water. Sanitize by using 1 tablespoon bleach per gallon water.
  • Make sure all refrigeration (41˚ or below) and freezer (0˚ or below) units are working properly by using thermometers.


Flooding of homes and businesses can accelerate the growth of mold.

  • People at greatest risk of mold are people with:
    • Asthma
    • Allergies
    • Other breathing conditions
    • Immune suppression (HIV infection, chemotherapy, or received organ transplant)
  • Mold reactions:
    • Stuffy nose, irritated eyes, wheezing, or skin irritation
    • Difficulty breathing and/or shortness of breath
    • Weakened immune systems with lung diseases consult your doctor
  • Recognizing mold:
    • Sight- walls and ceiling discolored, signs of mold growth or water damage
    • Smell- bad odor, musty, earthy or foul stench
  • Clean up
    • Dry your home
      • Open windows; use fans
      • Remove objects that have been wet more than 48 hours
      • Remove any standing water
      • Control moisture levels (dehumidifiers and/or air conditioners)
      • Remove growth from hard surfaces use chemical products
        • Use soapy solution first on surfaces
        • Never use more than 1 cup of bleach in 1 gallon of water
        • Never mix chemicals
        • Never go against manufactures guidelines
        • Use a stiff brush
        • Protect yourself and children
          • Remove children from cleaning area
          • Use gloves, mask and eye protection
        • If you suspect you have health problems due to flood water or possible mold exposure, contact your health care provider.
        • The American Red Cross has Flood Clean-up Kits available. Contact Jason Bradshaw at 812-306-7285.

Damaged Household Items:

  • Large appliances should be disposed of at local salvage yards.
  • Small appliances, electronics, carpeting, mattresses and other large household items can be taken to the Solid Waste Processing Center. Contact Carla Striegel-Winner at        812-482-7865
  • Remember “When in doubt, Throw it out!

If you have any questions, please contact the Dubois County Health Department at 812-481-7055.

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