March 7, 2013

DOH encourages flooding preparedness

March 7, 2013 Suwannee Democrat


Live Oak — After the flooding subsides:

Disinfect your well using the steps provided by your local health department, or located on the Department of Health’s website at

If available, have your water tested through your county health department or by a laboratory certified by the state to perform a drinking water analysis.

Contaminated Food

Do not eat any food that may have come in contact with floodwaters.

Discard any food without a waterproof container if there is any chance it has come into contact with floodwaters.

Undamaged, commercially canned foods can be saved if you remove the labels, thoroughly wash the cans, and disinfect them with a solution consisting of ¼ cup of unscented household bleach per gallon of water.

Re-label your cans, including the expiration date, with a marker.  Food containers with screw-caps, snap lids and home canned foods should be discarded if they have come in contact with floodwaters, because they cannot be disinfected.

Contaminated Items

Discard wooden cutting boards, plastic utensils, baby bottle nipples and pacifiers.  There is no way to safely clean them if they have come in contact with contaminated floodwaters.

Thoroughly wash metal pans, ceramic dishes and utensils with soap and hot water and sanitize by boiling them in clean water or by immersing them for 15 minutes in a solution of ¼ cup of household bleach per gallon of water.


Basic hygiene is very important during flooding.  Always wash your hands with soap and water that has been boiled and cooled or disinfected.  

Hands should always be washed:

Before preparing or eating food

After using the bathroom

After changing a diaper

After handling uncooked food

After playing with a pet

After handling garbage

After tending to someone who is sick or injured

After blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing

After helping in flood cleanup activities

After handling items contaminated with flood water or sewage.

For more information, please contact your county health department or visit or


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