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HOUSTON - The Houston Health Department urges people take health precautions when dealing with impacts of Hurricane Harvey.

People 7 years of age and older with puncture wounds or cuts that were exposed to Harvey floodwaters may be at risk for contracting tetanus. They will need a tetanus shot if they have not had one in the past 10 years. They will need to consult their primary care physician or medical home.

The department also offers the following recommendations:

Cleaning and Sanitizing Homes
Use an N-95 rated dust mask if heavy concentrations of mold are already growing in your home.  First, wash surfaces with soap and warm clean water to remove dirt and debris. Next, sanitize surfaces with household bleach. Clean it with a solution of 1 cup household liquid bleach per 5 gallons of water.

Remember to also:

  • Keep children and pets out of the affected area until cleanup has been completed.
  • Remove and discard items that cannot be washed and disinfected (such as, mattresses, carpeting, carpet padding, rugs, upholstered furniture, cosmetics, stuffed animals, baby toys, pillows, foam-rubber items, books, wall coverings, and most paper products).
  • Remove and discard drywall and insulation that has been contaminated with sewage or flood waters.
  • Thoroughly clean all hard surfaces (such as flooring, concrete, molding, wood and metal furniture, counter tops, appliances, sinks, and other plumbing fixtures) with hot water and laundry or dish detergent.
  • Help the drying process by using fans, air conditioning units, and dehumidifiers.

 
Mosquitoes
If not currently flooded, drain any standing water left in your yard by Hurricane Harvey so mosquitoes have less of a chance to multiply and spread viruses such as Zika or West Nile. 

  • Spray insect repellent with DEET on exposed skin.  Follow label instructions; reapply as needed. Use a mosquito net to protect babies in a stroller or car seat.
  • As weather permits, dress in long pants and long sleeve shirts.  Make sure doors and window screens are in good repair.  Use air conditioning when available.