Hurricane Harvey

How To Stay Healthy While Cleaning Out A Flooded Home

Harvey’s floodwaters are gone but there are still a lot of dangers. We talked with a top health official about how to stay safe during the cleanup process.

Flood debris outside a home near the San Jacinto River in northeast Harris County.

If in doubt, throw it out. That’s the advice of Dr. Umair Shah, Executive Director of Harris County Public Health.

As for those water-soaked pillows and blankets, they may have to go on the debris pile. But if you’re going through your home looking for things that can be saved, Shah says it’s important to cover up. That means a protective mask and sturdy shoes.

“We have a lot of folks who may be in contact with rusty nails,” says Shah. “And we’re asking if it’s been more than ten years that they also get a tetanus booster.”

Shah says it’s also a good idea to empty out any standing water.

“Usually mosquitoes come up about seven to ten to fourteen days after a flood like this,” adds Shah. “And this is why we’re being very aggressive as we can to spray as much as we can.”

To help control mosquitoes, Shah says the state will start doing aerial spraying over the Houston area later this week.

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Gail Delaughter

Gail Delaughter

Transportation Reporter

From early-morning interviews with commuters to walks through muddy construction sites, Gail covers all aspects of getting around Houston. That includes walking, driving, cycling, taking the bus, and occasionally flying. Before she became transportation reporter in 2011, Gail hosted weekend programs for Houston Public Media. She's also covered courts in...

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