Avoid your exposure to floodwater

Ongoing flood conditions have the potential to raise additional health concerns for Missourians. It is especially important to avoid contact with floodwaters and pay attention to your local health department for advisories and updates regarding water quality before, during and after a flood. 

Floodwaters can pose serious health risks, including:

  • Floodwater can contain raw sewage and pose other risks, including infectious diseases, hazardous chemical exposure, and debris that can cause injuries.
  • Direct contact with floodwater can cause skin rashes, an infection of cuts or wounds or stomach illnesses including vomiting and diarrhea.
  • Downed or broken power lines in floodwater pose an electrocution hazard.
  • Sharp objects and debris, such as glass or metal objects, may be lurking in floodwater.
  • Animals, insects, snakes and other reptiles that have been displaced due to flooding may be submerged or hiding in debris in or near floodwaters.

Persistent flooding conditions can pose a threat to the quality of both public and private water systems for Missourians. Citizens should be aware of this hazard, and pay special attention to infants, the elderly or those with a compromised immune system for symptoms. Consuming contaminated water can cause gastrointestinal problems, diarrhea, nausea, intestinal cramping, dehydration, etc. If you think someone in your family has consumed contaminated water, please contact your physician.

Find more information about flood safety and recovery from the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) - Clean Up Safely After a Disaster
Information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to assist individuals, families and rescue workers with safe and proper methods of disaster clean up. Topics include carbon monoxide exposure, chain saw injuries, chemical hazards, smoke from burning debris, electrical hazards, and cleaning and sanitizing with bleach.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) - Emergency Preparedness and Response
This site is intended to increase the nation's preparation for, and ability to respond to public health emergencies.
Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) - Cleanup Hazards During Disaster Recoveries
Fact sheet from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) containing safety procedures and recommendations for workers.