Up Next: Health Worries During Flood Cleanup

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A debris covered hunting boot sits in front of a home in Longmont, drying as residents clean up in in one of the hardest hit neighborhoods in the wake of a week of heavy flooding on Sept. 16, 2013. (Photo by Marc Piscotty/Getty Images)

A debris covered hunting boot sits in front of a home in Longmont, drying as residents clean up in in one of the hardest hit neighborhoods in the wake of a week of heavy flooding on Sept. 16, 2013. (Photo by Marc Piscotty/Getty Images)

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Written by Dr. Dave Hnida, CBS4 Medical EditorLike the flooding itself, the number of potential health issues during cleanup … and advice for safety — are vast and different.

No one set of guidelines fit each Coloradan’s circumstances.

So here are some general things to consider, plus I’ve included some links below that may help fit your situation to a “T.” After each paragraph, remember to check the links for detail.

Major concerns include what has been hit by flood waters and/or mud. In this case you need to assume everything is contaminated. That means floors, countertops, furniture, basically everything inside of a structure may have been contaminated by germs.

How about outside? Same goes here. Lawn furniture, playsets, sheds … all need cleaning.

Back inside — mold. Odds are it’s already started to grow. It won’t be bad early on, but open windows and masks may still be a good idea at this point — and a must later.

Food. If you lost your power for 2 hours or more, consider all refrigerated items dead. As for pantry foods, only canned goods may be salvageable, but much be cleaned correctly. (see below)

Clothes you wear while cleaning — thorough washing and don’t re-wear if possible.

Your garden — in most cases — inedible and un-trustable.

Other major points:

Make sure you’ve had a tetanus shot within the past 5-10 years.

Wear gloves. Long pants and shirts. Firm shoes.

Clean even minor wounds well. Clean even un-injured skin well.

Most cleanup injuries and diseases:

Cuts. Slip and falls. Diarrhea. Dehydration. Carbon monoxide poisoning. The list is really longer — you just can’t let your guard down now that the sun is peaking through.

It’s been a tough time but we will make it by helping each other out. We always do. That’s Colorado.

Here are the links for more info:

www.colorado.gov/…/1251645971558

www.floodsafety.com/…/Cleanup_after_flood.pdf

Colorado Floods: How To Help

The recent floods are impacting families and communities throughout Colorado, so CBS4 has compiled a list of ways you can support the local communities impacted by the floods.

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