Friday, July 17, 2009

Children's Health Following a Winter Storm

Or in damp camping locations, summer cabins, etc.

Children are different from adults. Children’s nervous, immune response, digestive and other bodily systems are still developing and are more easily harmed. Children eat more food, drink more fluids, and breathe more air than adults in proportion to their body size. It is important to take extra care to ensure the safety of their food, drink and air following a storm. Of concern is mold, carbon monoxides and contaminated water or household items.

MOLD: To protect your child from mold exposure, you can clean smooth, hard surfaces such as metal and plastics with soap and water and dry thoroughly. Flood water damaged items made of absorbent materials cannot be cleaned and should be discarded. These items include paper, cloth, wood, upholstery, carpets, padding, curtains, and clothes.

Throw away ALL soft or absorbent toys because it is impossible to clean them and they could harm your child. Throw away ALL baby bottles, nipples, and pacifiers that have come in contact with flood waters or debris.

CARBON MONOXIDE: Never use portable generators indoors. Place generators outside as far away from buildings as possible. Due to loss of electricity, gasoline or diesel-powered generators may be used during or after a winter storm. Generators used at home should be professionally installed. Carbon Monoxide is a colorless, odorless and deadly gas. Simply opening doors and windows or using fans will not prevent carbon monoxide buildup in the home or in partially enclosed areas such as a garage.

DRINKING WATER: If a water source may be contaminated with flood waters, children, pregnant women and nursing mothers should drink only bottled water, which should also be used to mix baby formula and for cooking.

The aftermath of a winter storm can have an impact on a community or region for days, weeks or even months especially at the coast where many people are now vacationing. We need to continue to protect our most vulnerable population.

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