First Texas, now Florida.
For the second time in less than a month, residents of the second and third most populous states, respectively, are confronting the enormous task of recovering from devastating hurricanes that exacted huge health and financial tolls.
Floodwater contamination will be the first problem people face as they return to their homes and businesses, said Cleveland Clinic infectious disease expert Dr. Frank Esper. The water that entered their homes could contain bacteria from raw sewage.
Soaked homes also are at risk for mold. People with allergies, asthma and compromised immune systems in particular can be sickened if mold gains a foothold in a house following flooding, Esper said. Esper warned that "even after the floodwaters have receded, the bacteria will remain a threat to health. You need to make sure you are cleaning anything that could have been contaminated by these floodwaters."