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Prevention of Injury and Illness After the Storm
For Release: May 19, 2017 – Jamie Dukes, Office of Communications (405) 271-5601
The Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) reminds residents to take safety precautions when cleaning up after a disaster. During the May 2013 tornadoes, about half of the injuries occurred during cleanup. The following tips to prevent illnesses and injuries are recommended by the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Around the home
Recognize and prevent mold
Mold can be recognized by discoloring of walls and ceilings. There may also be a noticeable foul odor such as a musty, earthy smell. It is recommended to remove all porous items that have been wet for more than 48 hours and that cannot be thoroughly cleaned and dried. These items can remain a source of mold growth and should be removed from the home. Porous, non-cleanable items include carpeting and carpet padding, upholstery, wallpaper, drywall, floor and ceiling tiles, insulation material, some clothing, leather, paper, wood, and food. Removal and cleaning are important because even dead mold may cause allergic reactions in some people.
Avoid carbon monoxide poisoning
Generators, grills, camp stoves, or other gasoline, propane, natural gas, or charcoal-burning devices should never be used indoors or directly outside an open window.
Safeguards against injury while using a chain saw
If you receive a puncture wound or a wound contaminated with feces, soil, or saliva, have a medical provider or health department determine whether a tetanus booster is necessary based on individual records.
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