Communicable Diseases and Floods

By DHEC Communications Staff

septic tank

The S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control reminds all storm-affected residents that a tetanus vaccination is recommended if it’s been 10 years or more since your last tetanus vaccination or you have experienced an injury and your shot is more than five years old.  For those who require a tetanus vaccination, there will be no-cost Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis) vaccination clinics this weekend.  For information about locations, please click here.

Outbreaks of communicable diseases after floods are unusual. However, the rates of diseases that were present before a flood may increase because of decreased sanitation or overcrowding among displaced persons. Increases in infectious diseases that were not present in the community before the flood are not usually a problem. It is important to follow proper hygiene and clean-up processes.

The process of cleaning up and rebuilding from natural disasters like a flood can lead to injuries. For this reason, anyone who is working to clean up after this event should be sure that they are up-to-date with tetanus vaccination, ideally before starting cleanup activities.

First aid, even for minor cuts and burns, is very important during flood clean-up. If possible, immediately clean all wounds and cuts with soap and clean water.  If you receive a puncture wound or any wound that could be contaminated and you are not up to date on tetanus vaccine, seek medical attention from a doctor or other health care professional.  A health care provider will determine if you need additional preventive treatments, including tetanus vaccine.  Your local DHEC health department can also provide the tetanus vaccine as prevention, but if you need medical attention for a wound, you should seek care from a health care provider, urgent care or emergency department.

For more information, please visit the CDC website.

2 thoughts on “Communicable Diseases and Floods

  1. Bairey

    Get straight to a doctor if you get a cut and you have been working cleaning up waste water. You don’t know if sewage is present in the water, and it can be a quick way to get infected. I would also agree with the need for a tetanus shot if you are working on a clean-up. Especially if it is free, there’s no reason not to be safe and get it done. Immunization is the best way to stay safe from a lot of diseases. I recently came across this post http://www.visitorguard.com/important-reasons-to-get-your-child-vaccinated/ that talks about the importance of getting children vaccinated. The same applies to adults as well.

    Reply

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