Flood waters pose serious health and safety risk - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Flood waters pose serious health and safety risk

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Lee County- Rangers from the Department of Natural Resources say South Georgians need to stay off the water.

"We don't want anybody out playing or skiing or boating on the lakes or the rivers. With this high water there's a potential to be hazardous," says Cpl. Robbie Griner.

Potential to be hazardous because as the water rises, it brings with it all types of debris.

"There's all kind of floating items drifting down the creek. We've seen logs, some docks, we've also had a boat or two that have come loose from people's docks that floating downstream," says Griner.

Water in creeks and rivers isn't the only concern. Health officials say South Georgians also need to stay away from water over roads and in yards.

"That's getting into a lot of septic systems and people who are not on the city sewers and it's probably getting into the city sewers as well, so their contaminated with human waste," says Dr. Miles Ellis of Palmyra Medical Center. "Add to that animals that may have been trapped or drowned. There's a lot of decomposing animals in the flood water, all of that adds up to a big risk of infection especially Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B. Obviously, if you have open wounds we worry about Tetanus," Ellis says.

Once the water begins to recede, doctors say South Georgians need to be aware of all the additional problems that come with standing water.

"It is a breeding ground for mosquitos and obviously with the West Nile Virus scares and thing like that you want to do something about that," Ellis says.

One of the simplest and least expensive things health officials say you can do is remove any standing around your home. It's the easiest way to cut down the risk of mosquito-borne illnesses.

With this being Spring break for many children, officials also warn parents to keep a close eye on children because with all the water there is an increased risk of drowning.

All gates are open on the Georgia Power dam, but DNR rangers say you should wait until water is back to its normal level before you go into flooded creeks for any recreational reasons.

Posted at 4:00 PM by elaine.armstrong@walb.com