Looking after your health during a flood

We care about your health. If you or someone you know has been impacted by the recent flooding events, here are some ways to look after your health and stay safe.

Avoid floodwater

Floodwater is often contaminated and can be harmful to your health. It’s important not to enter or swim in any floodwaters because they may contain sewerage, debris or infections carried by animals such as rats, cattle, pigs and dogs. If you suffer a cut that is exposed to floodwater, clean the area with antiseptic immediately. If you notice any expanding redness or swelling, seek medical help right away.

Watch out for mosquitos

Floodwaters can also lead to an increase in mosquito numbers. Try to avoid mosquito bites as they may carry infections such as Ross River Virus, Barmah River Virus or Japanese Encephalitis Virus. Be sure to use insect repellent as much as you can especially during the clean-up process to keep yourself protected.

Take care with drinking water

Water quality can be impacted by floods. Check if a boil water alert has been issued in your local area. If so, boil water or use bottled water where available, including brushing teeth, washing food and water for your pets.

Practice good personal hygiene

It’s critical to practice basic personal hygiene at all times. Use disinfectant when cleaning up, and wash your hands with soap and water frequently, especially before eating or drinking. Remember to wear a mask when using strong chemicals and disinfectants.

Follow food safety guidelines

If your fridge has been disconnected from power for 4 or more hours, its best to throw food out. Freezer food can last up to 24 hours if not opened.

Keep mould at bay

Trapped moisture can lead to mould growth, especially black mould which could be harmful to your health. Here are some tips to avoid mould or mildew:

  • As soon as floodwaters recede, dry out your house or car and leave windows ajar where possible
  • Remove anything that is wet inside the home outdoors and discard anything affected by floodwaters such as soft toys
  • Put an open box of baking soda in areas where a musty smell is lingering
  • Don’t begin to clean off mould until everything is dry

Look after your physical health

In the initial stages of the flood, the clearing up process can be physically exhausting. Keep hydrated as much as possible and nourish your body with whole foods if available.

Look after your mental health

As you come to terms with the damage, you may find dealing with an unexpected event such as a flood quite traumatic. Recovery can take a long time and have impacts on your mental health. Talk to family members and friends about how you are feeling and reach out to your GP if feelings of sadness or despair continue.

Seek support

Communities often pull together during times of crisis, so accept offers of help and in return look after your social health by assisting others where possible.

If you’re a Zurich customer, we are also here to support your financial health and help you get back on your feet.

Staying healthy after a flood

Looking after your health following a disaster is important. View our Staying healthy after a flood brochure for practical coping strategies to support your whole health.

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